SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: The Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard are combing the West Phi¬lip¬pine Sea (South China Sea) in search of 71 fishermen from Panga¬sinan on board 16 different fishing boats that went missing after tropical storm Kabayan caught them out at sea.
Melchito Castro, Office of Civil Defense regional director, said the 71 fishermen—all from the towns of Infanta, Dasol and Bolinao in Pangasinan—were among 170 fishermen from those towns who ventured out despite presence of a low pressure area east of Luzon, the country’s main group of islands.
He added that 99 others also on board different fishing boats were already able to return home.
The Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) reported on October 3 that there were 36 fishermen from Infanta, Agno and Dasol who were missing but the 14 fishermen from Dasol were rescued somewhere in the coastal waters of Agno at 8 p.m. of October 2.
Castro reported that two helicopters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at press time were on their way to the West Philippine Sea to help rescue the missing fishermen.
He said rescue operations started October 3 but the Navy and the Coast Guard men had to return to their bases by night fall as the sea was still rough and waves were still high.
Castro appealed to local government units through a local radio station to try to provide alternative livelihood to the fishermen so they will not go out to the sea anymore during typhoons.