Scale up search for 14 missing Filipino fishermen: Poe

Sen. Grace Poe exhorted authorities to augment and mobilize resources to scour the waters for 14 Filipinos missing after their fishing boat collided with a Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel off the coast of Mindoro.

Poe said the Philippine Coast Guard should also seek help for sea and air assets of neighbor countries as the search has become a race against the clock.

“Every day counts. We should not let down the families of the 14 Filipinos awaiting the safe return of their loved ones,” she said.

All-out efforts for an exhaustive and wide search will increase the chance of finding the missing fishers, Poe said. She added that even coastal communities are volunteering to be on the lookout for signs.

“In this situation, we need a true all-hands-on-deck efforts. We must keep searching,” Poe stressed.

The senator said government should make available any assistance needed by the families of the fishermen as they keep their hopes alive.

While life at sea is not easy, the country’s fishermen continue to brave its perils and pitfalls to provide food for every Filipino’s table.

“Anim na araw na ang nakakaraan. Matagal na ang paghihintay ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Malalim at malawak man ang karagatan, kailangan natin silang hanapin at saklolohan,” Poe said.

Poe said the investigation being conducted by the Coast Guard should be extensive to determine the real cause of the incident, the immediate action taken on the ground and possible liabilities.

“The public expect no let-up in the search for our countrymen as we await the result of the investigation that will shed light on the real incident and hold the erring party liable for this mishap,” Poe added.

Poe earlier filed and sponsored Senate Bill No. 1077 or the proposed National Transportation Safety Board that will focus on investigating air, highway, railroad, pipeline and maritime accidents such as this.

The bill, approved on third and final reading at the Senate, said transportation accidents carry hefty price tags and cost lives, and should not be left in the archives without giving justice to the victims. SENATE.GOV.PH