Coast Guard searching for 7 missing fishermen

June 22, 2008 - Seven fishermen were reported missing in Siargao and Surigao del Norte, while 39 others were separately rescued when three fishing boats capsized after these were slammed by strong winds brought by Typhoon Frank on Friday.

A report gathered from the police regional office in Butuan City said the Coast Guard and the Quick Action Response Team based in Surigao City were still conducting a rescue mission for the seven missing fishermen.

Reported missing were Johnrey Asan, 27; Wendelberto Asan, 21; Alan Asan, 39; George Ubay, 20; Damian Usayan, 51; Rejay Itac, 35 and Jun Zaide, 34 who are all residents of Purok 2, Sabang in Surigao City.

The 39 other crewmen were swept to neighboring coastlines in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur and Taganaan in Surigao del Norte.

At around 1 a.m. Friday, MV Meme II manned by 18 crew and MV Balljack Tricks manned by 11 men capsized off the shores of General Luna on Siargao Island due to strong winds as Typhoon Frank started to hit Surigao.

The missing victims belonged to MV Meme II while the remaining survivors of the two ill-fated boats were rescued by another fishing boat named MTGR, which arrived at Cagwait Port at around 10 a.m. Saturday.

At around 10 a.m. Friday, fishing boat Trina also capsized off the waters of Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte, but the 17 crewmen were rescued by fishermen, local government rescue team and Quick Response Team in separate coastal villages of Taganaan, Surigao del Norte.

In Central Mindanao, military personnel from the 6th Infantry Division and civic groups continued relief and search and rescue efforts to thousands of villagers displaced by flashfloods Saturday in Shariff Kabunsuan and nearby provinces.

Early Sunday, Air Force helicopters assisted ground troops in locating stranded civilians in Shariff Kabunsuan province as floodwaters started to settle down.

In South Upi, Maguindanao, villagers resumed searching for the remains of 10 people who were swept away by rampaging waters after the Rifao river overflowed Saturday dawn.

"We are still searching, hopefully we can recover them, even their dead bodies so decent burial could be done," village official Joy Rapsing Meles.

"We appeal to villages at the downstream of Rifao river, particulary in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat to fish out dead bodies along the river, if they see one," she said.

Col. Julieto Ando, 6th Infantry Division spokersperson, said the waters in the villages of Bulalo, Salimbao and Calzada, all in Sultan Kudarat town have not totally settled.

"Our chopper pilots find some people on the roof top of their homes and reported to our ground troops for rescue efforts," Ando said early Sunday.

Local officials placed the fatality figures at 17 with about five others missing in Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan and North Cotabato.

Of the fatalities, 10 are from South Upi, Maguindanao, two in Cotabato, four in Guindulungan, Maguindanao and one in Alameda, North Cotabato.

Also in South Upi, Maguindanao, separate landslide incidents in Barangays Gila-gila and Kuya led to the immediate rescue of some 20 persons buried in mud.

In Barangay Pansud, Lebak, rescuers were still searching for the whereabouts of a pregnant woman who was reportedly swept away on Saturday by strong water current.

The towns of Isulan, Esperanza, and Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat and nearby towns of Talayan, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Aguak, and Ampatuan in Maguindanao were practically inundated due to the overflowing of the Ala River.

Agriculture officials in Central Mindanao and in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said more than P50 million worth of rice and corn crops were damaged by the flash floods.

In Sarangani Province, three persons were killed while millions of pesos worth of crops, properties and infrastructure projects were destroyed.

Provincial social welfare and disaster chief Hermelo Latoja told reporters that more than 1,800 families with about 7,000 dependents were displaced by the floods in four affected towns of the province.

Latoja reported that the displaced residents were temporarily sheltered at the respective municipal gymnasium of Kiamba, Maasim, Maitum and Alabel.

Kiamba town mayor Rommel Falgui reported to the provincial disaster council that two persons were killed by flashfloods in his town.

Falgui, however, did not give the name of the victims.

In Maitum, one unidentified person was also reported killed by the flashflood.

The Sangguniang Bayan of Alabel declared a state of calamity in the town.

Initial cost of damage on crops, properties and infrastructure projects in Kiamba and Maasim alone was placed at P8.1 million.

In Zamboanga City, six persons were injured while more than a thousand families of about 6,000 dependents were displaced by flooding in the eastern side of the city.

Francisco Barredo, city social welfare officer, said strong winds also toppled some electric posts, cutting power lines to some residents.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said about 50 hectares of rice farms were also destroyed by the flood. (inquirer.net)

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