Holy Week Tragedy: Five dead in drowning incidents

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) of northern Negros Occidental was present at a Pulupandan town beach resort on Easter Sunday to guarantee the security of holiday-goers. (Photo courtesy of PCG northern Negros Occidental)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – In a somber contrast to the generally peaceful Lenten observances, five individuals, including three adults and two children, lost their lives to drowning in various rivers across Negros Occidental from March 25 to 31.

A tragic event unfolded in Kabankalan City on Easter Sunday when an 11-year-old girl drowned during a river outing in Barangay Camansi. The grade 5 student was bathing in the river with her seven-year-old cousin when she unknowingly entered deeper waters and was submerged, despite a relative’s effort to rescue her cousin.

Another drowning occurred on Black Saturday, involving a five-year-old boy in Barangay San Miguel, La Carlota City.

Additional reports from the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) detailed similar incidents in Barangay Poblacion 1, Moises Padilla on March 29, Barangay Sicaba, Cadiz City on March 28, and Barangay Antipolo, Pontevedra on March 25, involving victims aged 27, 39, and 56.

Despite these incidents, the police described the Holy Week as largely peaceful in the region.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in northern Negros Occidental reported that during the period from March 22 to March 31, a total of 104,012 passengers were transported via local seaports, with nearly equal numbers arriving and departing.

Commander Paterno Belarmino Jr. of the PCG mentioned only a minor case where a passenger experienced dizziness and was assisted by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Belarmino also reported congestion at some seaports, which was effectively managed by the Coast Guard. The PCG conducted checks on 511 vessels and 203 motorbancas and will maintain heightened alert status until April 2.

Looking forward, the PCG aims to continue vigilant monitoring at beach resorts and along the coast as part of preparations for the upcoming summer vacation season, aiming to ensure safety and prevent further mishaps.

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