LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – Nine fishermen went missing while fishing in the sea of Catanduanes province, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-Bicol reported on Christmas Day.
Gremil Naz, OCD-Bicol spokesperson, identified the missing fishermen as Noel Zafe, 41; Dante David; Arnel Araojo, 43; Domingo Borilla, 33; Jason Mandasoc, 31, all from the provincial capital Virac; and Ringo Tupig, Willy Uchi, Jobert Teano, and Juanito Estrella Jr., all from Viga town in Catanduanes.
Naz said that one fisherman, Norman Lim, 34, was reported missing but was found alive in Rapu-Rapu town in Albay province on Christmas Eve.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO)-Catanduanes said Zafe and David went fishing onboard a yellow and maroon motorized boat.
On the other hand, Araojo, Borilla, Magdasoc, and Lim went fishing onboard to a yellow motorized boat.
They were expected to return home on Dec. 23 but none of them made it except for Lim.
Lim said he jumped off from the battered boat and left his colleagues. He swam to the nearest shore where he was rescued.
Tupig, Uchi, Teano, and Estrella went fishing in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 20 and were also expected to return home on Dec. 23 but none of them made it nor contacted their families.
Naz said search and rescue operations for the missing fishermen were halted due to rough seas and the gale warning.
He added that rescue operations led by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Virac will resume as soon as the weather improves.