Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation (PCKF) President Jonne Go expressed his grief over the death of rower Gerome Tipon, 27, a member of the Alab Sagwan Dragon Boat club, during practice in the waters of Manila Bay on Saturday.
“I just learned the tragic news after I arrived from China and then I went directly to the wake to condole with his relatives,” Go told The Manila Times.
“He [Tipon] wasn’t a member of the Philippine rowing team yet although he was trying out. About this incident, we need an assurance that a strict safety measure during their training is being implemented because we’re doing this every time. Unfortunately, that accident happened.
“We cannot allow this kind of accident to happen again. We are going to make it stricter this time,” she added.
According to police report, the 22 members of the rowing team were undergoing training when their boat capsized. All rowers were rescued except Tipon.
“When the coast guard rescued the rowers, somebody was missing. Based on reports, he [Tipon] suffered from cramps. According to one rower, he managed to hold on to the boat but suddenly he’s gone. Only 21 rowers made it to the bayside. It was 10 years ago when an accident like this occurred,” Go said.
According to Philippine Coast Guard Third Class Officer Peter De Guzman, the survivors and the victim were not wearing life vests during the incident. He also said that a search and retrieval operations was quickly launched. Tipon’s body was found floating near the Manila Yacht Club on Sunday morning.
Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) President Marcia Cristobal also extended her sympathy to the family of Tipon. She also stressed that the PDBF is strictly implementing water safety policies dictated by the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF).
“In PDBF, we do exercise IDBF water safety policies and club team leaders practicing and implementing safety measures,” said Cristobal in a separate interview. “His association is not a member of our federation, but I sympathized with his family.”