DA to retrieve bodies of drowned fishermen in Mangsee Island
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will undertake efforts to exhume and retrieve the bodies of 40 Navotas fishermen who drowned in Mangsee Island, Palawan last year.
Family members of the drowned fishermen were flown to Coron, Palawan this week to visit the common grave where their loved ones have been buried since the tragedy, which took place at the height of Typhoon Vinta last year.
The 40 were among the 79 crew of at least four “Hulbot-Hulbot” fishing boats owned by a rich Navotas fishing family who sought refuge in Mangsee Islands at the height of the typhoon.
The strong waves at that time crushed the fishing boats and 40 of the crew members drowned.
“There was hardly any story which came out in the media about the tragedy and families of the victims accused the fishing boat owners of trying to cover up the story. The 39 crew members who came back alive were reportedly given only P15,000 each and no efforts were made by the owner of the fishing boats to retrieve the remains of the 40 who drowned,” Piñol said.
Piñol said the story of the crusade of the widows to get justice and to retrieve the remains of their husbands was “largely ignored by the mainstream media”.
“Yesterday, I finally met with three of the widows of the fishermen who told me that their only dream to bring home the remains of their husband and give them a proper burial,” Piñol said.
Aside from retrieving the bodies from the mass grave, the victims’ families will be given an assistance of P50,000 each for their livelihood programs.