Boholano Seaman First Class Ralph Barajan of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) received a commendation from Governor Arthur Yap for his bravery by being instrumental in saving the lives of over 50 passengers of the M/V Siargao Princess which sank while travelling from Loon, Bohol to Sibonga, Cebu.
Yap accorded the recognition to Barajan who was accompanied by his wife at the Capitol on Thursday morning for his “gallantry and exemplary display of genuine service to the nation,” as stated in the framed plaque.
”Swerte kaayo ang mga pasahero sa M/V Siargao Princess na kauban nila si Ralph Barajan ana na trip…Garbo sa mga Bol-anon na at least naa tay usa ka isog na Coast Guard official na andam mo-buwis sa iyang kinabuhi para sa katawhan didto,” said Yap.
According to Yap, Barajan will also be honored on Bohol Day next year as among exemplary Boholanos for 2020.
The MV Siargao Princess sank five nautical miles from the coast of Sibonga last week with Barajan who was off duty on board as a passenger.
Barajan has been credited for saving the lives of the other passengers for his initiative in directing them to abandon the sinking vessel calmly and accordingly, while the captain initially refused to give the order even as the front of the craft was already partly submerged.
The Boholano PCG officer had noted that the crew of the vessel did not assist the passengers as the fastcraft started to take in water.
He also had to go to the vessel’s skipper himself to ask for life jackets for children which he distributed and helped put on.
Barajan was the last to jump off from the sinking vessel after assisting others as they abandoned ship.
“Ang crew members, ang kapitan, nagkagulo-gulo, nagkasamok sila didto but tungod ni Barajan kalmang-kalma siya, siya ang nag-direct sa mga taw kung asa sila mag-position sa barko,” Yap said.
Yap meanwhile expressed support for the ongoing investigation on the incident, saying that the crew and owner of the vessel should be “prosecuted.”
The governor lamented that crew members of MV Siargao Princess did not follow protocol as the troubled vessel started to sink.
“Kinihanglan that they should face prosecution, daghan ang mga witness,” Yap said.
Earlier, the Sanguuninang Panlalawigan passed a resolution commending Barajan for his bravery.
Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, also lauded Barajan saying that the Cortes, Bohol native proved that living heroes exist still in modern times. (R. Tutas)