Iloilo death toll mounts

Tropical storm “Hanna” is forecast to intensify into a severe tropical storm within 24 hours, weather forecasters said Monday as the death toll from the capsizing of three boats in the Guimaras Strait rose to 28.

Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster, said the center of “Hanna” was estimated at 845 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan as of Sunday afternoon. Packing maximum sustained winds of 85 kms per hour and gustiness of 105 kph, “Hanna” was moving slowly west-northwest at 10 kph.

“Hanna” is forecast to enhance the southwest monsoon.

Light to heavy monsoon rains will persist in the Mimaropa region, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said.

Luzon and the Visayas will experience only scattered rain showers.

Aurelio said the weather in Metro Manila will improve due to a shallow low-pressure area over west of Northern Luzon.

Another low-pressure area was spotted outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility in the West Philippine Sea or at 395 kms west of Iba, Zambales.

A typhoon internationally named “Francisco” was also observed outside the PAR.

“However, these three weather systems are not expected to enter the country,” Aurelio said.

In Iloilo City, search and rescue teams retrieved three more bodies of passengers on three boats that capsized while traveling the Guimaras Strait.

Reports from the Joint Iloilo City-Guimaras incident command post said five more passengers of the two capsized motorboats—M/B Jenny Vince and M/B Chi Chi were still being sought.

Two of the bodies were fished out in Dumangas town and near Iloilo port while the other victim was retrieved in Bondolan Point in Guimaras.

The three motorboats were on the way to Iloilo City when they were suddenly buffeted by strong waves and winds brought by southwest monsoon, causing them to capsize.

Authorities have already identified the 28 dead victims and their relatives and families have been accorded financial assistance by local government officials.

A total of 53 survivors remained in Iloilo City port being attended to by different local government agency representatives.

An Army search and rescue unit under Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina had been deployed in the Iloilo-Guimaras waters to hasten the retrieval of missing victims.

The Philippine Coast Guard investigating the incident has found no evidence of overloading on any of the three boats.

The Palace on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte will likely visit Iloilo City.

“Given the character and style of the President, that’s a probability,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “Meanwhile, we condole with the families of the victims that perished in those mishaps.” With MJ Blancaflor, Maricel V. Cruz and PNA

In a statement, Panelo said the Office of the President directed concerned departments and agencies to provide immediate assistance to the victims of this tragedy.

In its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that out of 89 passengers, 28 were confirmed dead, eight remain missing, while 53 have been rescued.

A party-list legislator on Monday urged the Philippine Coast Guard and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of the capsizing of the boats in the Guimaras Strait Saturday.

Marino party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzalez on Monday asked if protocols were in place for protecting passengers in case of bad weather.

“Two passenger boats already capsized earlier in the day when the third one was allowed to proceed on its journey and also sank. I want to know where the problem lies—are the protocols in place insufficient? Are boat captains not given enough information? I refuse to let the Filipino people think maritime tragedies are a fact of life in our seas,” Gonzales said. With MJ Blancaflor, Maricel V. Cruz, and PNA

READ: 25 dead in Iloilo sea tragedy

Topics: Tropical storm “Hanna” , Guimaras Strait , Aldczar Aurelio , Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration
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