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28 fishermen rescued in Palawan

By Francis T. Wakefield

A coastal patrol boat of the Philippine Navy on Thursday rescued 28 fishermen from their sinking boat some 35 miles or 56 kilometers northeast of El Nido, Palawan.

Capt. Cherryl Tindog, Armed Forces Western Command Public Affairs Office chief, said the fishermen were onboard the Athan Uno on their way to the West Philippines Sea when it sank due to strong waves.

Upon receiving a distress call from the fishing boat at about 8 a.m., she said the Wescom, through the Joint Task Force Malampaya, immediately dispatched BRP Nestor Reinoso skippered by Commander Roldydin Cris Sergio to search and rescue the fishermen.

“Papunta daw sila ng WPS para mangisda pero dahil malakas ang alon, di kinaya ng bangka nila at lumubog. Ang nag-distress call sa atin ay ‘yong kapitan din ng bangka,” Tindog said.

The coastal patrol boat located the fishermen about two miles or three kilometers southeast of the Alcon Production platform where they temporarily anchored.

“By the time the rescuers arrived, the boat was half-submerged and was being towed by another motor banca. However, both boats were being struck by strong waves,” she said.

The rescued fishermen, all residents of Barangay Caminawit, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, are now with the El Nido Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

“Nasa pangangalaga namin silang lahat at kasalukuyan na din kaming nagco-communicate sa the municipal government of San Jose para makauwi sila,” town MDRRMO chief Raymund Osorio said.

Sonny Pajarilla, a weatherman of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, said although there was no gale warning over Palawan, they had advised small fishing boats not to risk going to the open sea.

“May kalakasan ang alon at mahigit two meters ang taas. ‘Yon nga lang wala tayong gale warning kaya walang pagbabawal. Ang meron na paulit-ulit naming ginawa ay advise sa mga maliliit na bangka na maging maingat at ‘wag munang pumalaot,” Pajarilla said.

He said the sea condition will remain rough until tomorrow and reiterated that small boats in northern Palawan should only go to locations that are near the shores and not venture out to the high seas. “Sa southern Palawan malakas din, hindi advisable sa maliliit na bangka pumalaot,” he said. (with a report from the PNA)