4 students drown in swollen Iloilo river; 1 missing
Four schoolchildren drowned and a fifth person was reported missing as they crossed a swollen river amid heavy rain brought by brewing Tropical Storm “Ramon,” the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Tuesday.
The fatalities, identified as Michael Martinez, 14, and his siblings Mark ,12, and Mariel,7; and Celino Ganancial, 7, were on their way home from school in Barangay (village) Lipata, Barotac Viejo when the tragedy struck, NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos said.
Lyka Ilosendo, 8, is reported missing and search and rescue operations are ongoing as of posting time, Ramos said.
The children, all students of the Nagpana Primary School, crossed the river daily to go to school, said Barotac Viejo Mayor Niel Tupas III in a telephone interview Tuesday with the Inquirer Visayas Bureau.
The bodies of Michael and Mark were recovered within a few hours after they were carried by the water while those of Mariel and Lino were found Tuesday morning, officials said.
Police Officer 1 Nelios Anico, investigator of the Barotac Viejo police station, said the police received reports that a body was recovered in the neighboring town of Banate and were checking if this was that of the missing child.
Officials said it had been raining heard in the mountains where the river’s headwaters were located.
600 in seaports
In its own report, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said more than 600 passengers of at least 100 seacraft were stranded in ports in the Visayas and northern Mindanao.
The PCG commandant, Admiral Ramon Liwag, said that as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, 10 and 57 passengers were stranded in the seaports of Tubigon and Ubay, respectively, in Bohol; 142 in Tinago and 26 in Danao in Cebu; 39 in Tacloban City in Leyte; 79 in Maasin City and 97 in Liloan in Southern Leyte; and 181 in Surigao City in Surigao del Norte.
Liwag had earlier directed Coast Guard units to remind all vessels and shipping companies in their respective areas of responsibility to strictly adhere to PCG Memorandum Circular No. 01-09 (or the “Guidelines on Movement of Vessel During Heavy Weather”), which provides, among others, that vessels of 1,000 gross tons and below shall not sail when Storm Signal No. 1 is raised in the vessel’s origin or route or destination to ensure the safety of passengers, vessels and properties.
Domestic flights bound for and coming from Eastern Visayas and Mindanao were canceled Tuesday.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority’s media affairs division, 14 flights were called off by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines as early as 5:55 a.m.
Cebu Pacific’s canceled flights were 5J 711/712 (Manila-Catarman-Manila), 5J 767/768 (Manila-Surigao-Manila), 5J 785/786 (Manila-Butuan-Manila), and 5J 787/788 (Manila-Butuan-Manila).
PAL canceled PR 477/478 (Manila-Butuan-Manila), while Air Philippines called off 2P 029/030 (Manila-Catarman-Manila) and 2P 065/066 (Manila-Surigao-Manila).
Cebu Pacific said affected passengers would be accommodated on the next available flights. They may also rebook their flight within 30 days of cancellation or store it in a travel fund without penalties. Reports from AFP; Jamie Elona, INQUIRER.net; Jerome Aning and Tina G. Santos in Manila
Originally posted: 1:39 pm | Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
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