3 dead, 2 missing as overloaded boat capsizes in North CotabatoBy Williamor Magbanua and Edwin Fernandez
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato – At least three persons were confirmed dead and two others missing after a motorized boat, overloaded with cargo and mostly student passengers, capsized on the Pulangui River as another boat overtook it on Wednesday, officials said.
Thirteen persons were rescued from the boat, which was traveling to the center of the town of Kabacan from the outlying village of Tamped upstream.
Cedric Mantawil, chairperson of the Kabacan municipal disaster risk reduction management council, said most of the passengers were elementary students on their way to a math competition at the University of Southern Mindanao in town proper.
Mantawil said initial investigation showed the pumpboat, which had a capacity of only 10, was overloaded as it was carrying 18 people and unspecified cargo. When another pumpboat overtook it, it was easily capsized by waves, he said.
Mantawil said the bodies of Lilibeth Mandayas, 42, of Barangay Libpas, President Roxas, North Cotabato; Bobong Marabe, 43, and that of his 9-year-old son Bobs, of Barangay Poblacion, Carmen, North Cotabato were found a few hours after the early morning accident.
Latip Akmad, Kabacan Incident Quick Response team leader, said the search for the two missing persons—Maryjane Abarca, 42, of Simbuhay, Kabacan, and Grade 3 pupil Geneve Saliling of Barangay Tamped—was continuing.
Rescued were Sofia Panambolan, 11; Christine Porcadilla, 11; Mikki Gomata, 12; Danica Panigel, 10; Dante Mandadtem, 9; Nathaniel Maninggola, 9; Jonamae Buenafe, 11; Jenecel Tomas, 11; Jenny Ambag, 12; Jenny-Vi Amella; Elvira Sepe; Ebma Escobar; and Edu Salipungan, 46.
Mantawil said rescuers had to call off the search for the missing victims on Wednesday because of the strong river currents. The search resumed Thursday, he said.
“We are still searching for the missing victims,” said Daniel Saliling, village chairman of Tamped.
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza said she has deployed the provincial rescue group to help in locating the missing victims.