By Francis Wakefield
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command (AFP-WesCom) rescued 28 passengers from a sinking fishing boat in waters about 35 miles northeast of El Nido town, Palawan on Thursday.
Capt. Cherryl Tindog, the spokesperson of the AFP-WesCom, said that upon receipt of distress call at around 8 a.m., the Joint Task Force Malampaya immediately deployed Navy vessel BRP Nestor Reinoso (PC 380) skippered by Cdr. Roldydin Cris A. Sergio to conduct search and rescue (SAR).
The SAR Team located the boat named Athan Uno at about 2 miles southeast of Alcon Production platform. By the time the rescuers arrived, it was half-submerged and being towed by another motor banca, however, both boats were being struck by strong waves.
According to its boat captain, they intended to proceed to West Philippine Sea to conduct fishing but they were struck by the strong waves, so they decided to stay and anchored near the AP platform.
Tindog said that upon arrival of PC 380 in the area, the 28 passengers were rescued and transferred to PC 380.
The said Navy vessel arrived around 9 p.m. the same day at El Nido Pier. The passengers were then turned over to El Nido Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.