OPERATIVES of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao’s Task Force 62 rescued 12 of the 19 Badjaos who were aboard three motorized bancas that capsized off Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi, a military official said Friday.
Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) Information Officer Captain Ma. Rowena Muyuela said four of the 12 rescued were children who were turned over to the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.
The Badjaos departed Bongao town at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the police said.
Investigation showed that the victims were traveling to Sabah to sell fish when the motorized bancas they were riding capsized due to inclement weather around 8 p.m. Tuesday northeast off Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi.
A bulk carrier M/V Savina was traveling at that time from Australia to China when its crew witnessed the incident.
The crew of M/V Savina immediately alerted the authorities, who also immediately sent personnel to rescue the victims.
Muyuela said search and rescue mission continues in a bid to locate the whereabouts of the seven others that were reported missing.