Coast Guard searches for 8 missing Pangasinan fishermen
DAGUPAN CITY – Two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels are now scouring an area in the West Philippine Sea to search for eight Pangasinan fishermen reported missing since Dec. 2.
BRP Nueva Vizcaya and NCS 3001 have been searching near the Panatag Shoal (also known as Bajo de Masinloc and Scarborough Shoal) since Thursday (Dec. 8), said Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman.
The fishermen were last seen on Dec. 2 catching fish in a payao (artificial reef) 80 nautical miles (148 kilometers) west of Bolinao town by a group of fishermen, who were on their way home to the fishing village of Cato in Infanta town, according to Charlito Maniago, village chief of Cato.
Skipper Pedro Amor and his crew members Christopher Monje, Alfredo Bautista, Jomar Gamboa, Jun-Jun Amor, Leonardo Nical and two other unidentified fishermen sailed to the West Phiippine Sea aboard the fishing boat John Paul on Nov. 28 to fish in a payao about 100 nautical miles (185 km) from the village. Maniago said it was supposed to be a weeklong fishing trip.
Maniago said he had deployed three fishing boats to help in the search.
The PCG has been coordinating with the Chinese Coast Guard, at the shoal, as well as all vessels sailing in the West Philippine Sea about the missing fishermen, Balilo said.
Maniago said that he was optimistic the missing fishermen were still alive./rga
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