A motorized banca carrying 17 persons including poll workers, police officers and a barangay official capsized in waters off Bien Unido due to strong current causing them to temporarily lose two ballot boxes on Tuesday morning.
According to PO3 Ally Bornello Jr. of the Bien Unido police, the banca was travelling from Barangay Sagasa going to mainland Bien Unido to transport election returns to the town’s Commission on Elections (Comelec) office.
The boat was about two kilometers away from the town’s fish port when strong waves caused it to tip over, said Bornello.
All of the passengers went overboard but fishermen in the area were immediately able to rescue them.
Bornello identified the passengers as PO2 Erico Regidor, PO1 Francis Philip Alcala sa Bien, Sara Mae Hoybia, Edilita Hoybia, Lucia Margate, Fe De la Torre, Maria Neptalie Pagalan, Juvie Ann Esclamado, Nenit Valmoria, Jessa Mae Arsenal, Melody Sere, Van lopez,Cora Valmoria, and Barangay Captain Ma. Purissa Barcoma.
The pumpboat crew were identified as Rechee Refullido, Gilberto Bazar Jr and Ronald Surigao
According to Bornello, two ballot boxes were lost during the incident but were found two hours after through a search and retrieval operation led by the town’s Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
Most of the ballots got wet, police said.
Gadgets including cellphones, other personal items and the police officers’ service pistols were also submerged in water.
Bornello said that the banca tipped over possibly due to overloading as the boat had a maximum capacity of 10 to 12 people. (A. Doydora)