THE Iloilo-Guimaras joint incident command post has ended the search and retrieval operations for victims of the sinking of three motorized bancas Saturday, August 3, as all the missing persons were found Tuesday, August 6.
In a press conference at the Iloilo Wharf Wednesday, August 7, Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office head Donna Magno confirmed that a total of 31 bodies were found and identified.
As of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, a total of 83 passengers, 13 crewmen, 65 survivors and 31 casualties were recorded.
Three bodies were found in the waters of Dumangas town in Iloilo on Tuesday. They were identified as Romnel Baguio, 31; Danelle Baguio, 4; and Jhaeron Mars Salanatin, 13.
Magno said despite the pulling off of the search and retrieval operation, the floating assets are still on standby.
"Andyan pa rin po. Hindi pa rin magdedemobilize because we still have some activities to do like from DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), patuloy pa rin ang mga assistance na gagawin para sa mga pamilyang namatayan at mga survivors," she said.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte was scheduled to visit the wake of eight victims at the Provincial Multipurpose Gym in Guimaras. However, he was not able to go to Jordan due to inclement weather.
Duterte, though, visited the wake of at least 13 victims at Gegato Abecia Funeral Homes in Jaro, Iloilo.
Effect on Guimaras
The three motorized bancas -- M/B Chi-Chi, Keziah and Jenny Vince -- capsized on August 3 due to strong winds and big waves at the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait.
Despite the incidents, Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin said the island province can cope up with the tragedy.
"But yet again, we make sure we could go through this with the help of iban and yung gusto namin mangyari ngayon is tulungan kaming makabalik sa normal yung pamumuhay namin," he said.
As of Wednesday, the Philippine Coast Guard has cancelled all boat trips plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route.
Gumarin said Guimaras is very dependent on Iloilo.
"So lahat ng kinakain namin, yung mga ginagamit namin dito, almost 70 to 90 percent from Iloilo. Kung may sakit yung mga anak namin at hindi kaya dito, pumupunta kami ng Iloilo, so dependent yung Guimaras sa city," he said.
The governor is hoping that Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade will open a major wharf in Buenavista town for fast-crafts.
He said he is also eyeing to have one or two roll-on/roll-off (Roro) vessels that can be used in case of emergency.
Asked about the Iloilo-Guimaras bridge project, Gumarin said it might be established four to five years from now.
"Guimaras to Iloilo bridge is under pa rin sa feasibility study study and it is under the authority and power of the President but it will take time," he said. (SunStar Philippines)