Search for 5 fishermen from Pangasinan called off
DAGUPAN CITY—The search and rescue operations for five Pangasinan fishermen, who had been missing at the West Philippine Sea since early this month, were called off on Thursday after rescue boats returned to Infanta town empty-handed.
Fishermen sailed out to sea last week but failed to find the missing boat with five people on board.
They were the boat’s skipper, Pedro Amor, and his crew members Alfredo Bautista, Jomar Gamboa, Leonardo Nical, and a man known as Gerry, all from Barangay Cato in Infanta.
Search boats on Dec. 10 found the bodies of Christopher Monje and Junjun Amor, members of the same crew, who sailed to the West Philippine Sea on Nov. 28.
Their bodies were recovered in an area 90 nautical miles west of Bolinao town.
Charlito Maniago, Barangay Cato head, said the fishermen’s boat may have capsized when the north wind whipped up huge waves.
In December 2006, some 90 fishermen from Barangay Cato went through the same experience, he said, but many of them were rescued days later at the Scarborough Shoal.
Maniago said it would be a sad Christmas for the families of the missing fishermen.
Despite the incident and the risk of encountering the north wind, fishermen continued to sail to the sea to fish, their only source of livelihood, he said.
In the past week, Maniago said he received reports about fishing boats suffering broken outriggers because of the rough seas.
“We cannot stop them from going there, especially now that Christmas is near and they need to earn to have something to give to their families,” he said.
Fishermen return there because the water surrounding the shoal is a breeding ground of high-value fish species. —GABRIEL CARDINOZA
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