The Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported that 72 people died from drowning during Holy Week, including 23 minors and three senior citizens. Additionally, six individuals were missing, and five were injured.
The majority of drowning incidents occurred in Region 4-A or the Calabarzon, with 19 fatalities, followed by Region 1 with 14 and Region 3 with 10. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recorded 28 drowning incidents and 32 “nearly drowned” incidents during the period.
Out of the 15 Coast Guard districts, only five districts – Southwestern Mindanao, Palawan, Southeastern Mindanao, Northeastern Mindanao, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – reported no drowning or near drowning incidents.
The most significant number of reported incidents was in the PCG’s Bicol District with 11 incidents of “drowned” and 15 incidents of “nearly drowned.”
The PCG also reported rescuing 13 local tourists whose motorized boat capsized near Bonbon Beach in Romblon on Black Saturday. Coast Guard Seaman First Class Kester Brylle Madali swam toward the boat and rescued the tourists while PCG apprentice seaman Francis Hedwig Salvador called the nearby beach patrol team and station operation for additional reinforcement.
In Matnog, Sorsogon, PCG personnel rescued 11 passengers of a boat that capsized last Sunday. One passenger, a 62-year-old man, died in the hospital.
PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. called on parents to watch over their children when they go swimming or on any family outing. He advised parents not to leave their children unattended and to avoid drinking liquor while swimming to avoid cases of drowning.
The PNP also recorded 11 vehicular accidents during the Holy Week, resulting in four deaths. Despite this, Azurin stated that the Holy Week celebration for this year was generally peaceful and orderly, and greater police visibility and cooperation from civilians resulted in the peaceful observance of the Lenten season.
The PNP’s strict implementation of Oplan Ligtas Sumvac 2023 also helped explain the peaceful observance of Holy Week, Azurin added. He said that deployment of personnel would focus now on bus terminals, seaports, and airports, as activities and movement of the traveling public would increase in these areas.
The authorities also reported a decrease in incidents of major crimes from Jan. 1 to April 8 of this year, compared to last year’s figures. There were 9,345 incidents of criminal activities this year, compared to 10,954 last year, a decrease of 14.69%.