6TH DROWNING VICTIM. A drowning victim was recovered in San Miguel, Bulacan on Tuesday (Sept. 27, 2022). The body of Daniel Sarmiento, 62, of Barangay Cambio was retrieved by personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Special Rescue Force Region 3. (Courtesy of Bureau of Fire Protection-Region 3)

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan – The body of the sixth drowning victim in Bulacan during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding was recovered in San Miguel town on Tuesday.

Mayor Roderick Tiongson confirmed that the victim who was swept away by raging floodwater was recovered in Barangay Cambio.

The body of Daniel Sarmiento, 62, a resident of the same village, was retrieved by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Special Rescue Force Region 3 and was eventually identified by his relatives.

Tiongson said the main culprit in the flash flood was the reported unabated quarry and mining operations in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

Recovered at about 4 a.m. Monday were the bodies of five members of the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office who were also swept by flash floods while preparing to conduct search and rescue operations in Sitio Galas, Barangay Camias.

George Agustin, Narciso Calayag Jr., Troy Justin Agustin, Jerson Resurreccion, and Marby Bartolome last made contact with their main base at 1 a.m.

Admiral Artemio Abu, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant, lauded their sacrifices.

Sa bawat misyon, baon ng mga Coast Guard rescuer ang panalangin na manatiling ligtas at maging matagumpay sa pagtataguyod ng kapakanan ng taumbayan (In every mission, PCG rescuers pray for their continued safety and success for the welfare of our people),” Abu said in a statement.

Kinikilala po namin ang kanilang sakripisyo para sa kaligtasan ng mga apektadong pamilya at bilang paglilingkod sa sambayanang Pilipino (We recognize their sacrifices for the safety of the affected families and service to the Filipino people),” Abu said. 

In a Laging Handa briefing, Commodore Armando Balilo, PCG spokesperson, said there will be a study into the incident to help avoid similar events in the future.

Ang PCG nasa rescue din po kami, nasa frontline din kami. Kami po ay nalungkot ng husto noong nalaman namin na mayroon tayong limang kasamahan na nasawi dahil sa kanilang paggawa sa kanilang mga trabaho (The PCG has rescuers in the frontlines, too. We are deeply saddened to hear about the deaths of our five colleagues in the line of duty),” Balilo said on Tuesday.

Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando assured the families left by the five rescuers that they will receive all the benefits due them. 

Their colleagues described them as dedicated and experienced rescuers who sometimes travel to other local government units to help out during disasters.

Senators Robinhood Padilla and Lito Lapid on Tuesday filed Resolutions Nos. 234 and 235, respectively, lauding the heroism of the five fatalities.

"The heroism and bravery shown by these five men, who sacrificed their lives to save their people, is an exemplary act worthy of praise and emulation and more importantly, an embodiment of dedication, courage, devotion to duty and commitment to public service," Padilla said in his resolution.

Lapid’s resolution recognized the courage, bravery, humanitarian spirit and selflessness of the fallen rescuers and noted that they should be held in the highest regard, paying the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty. (PNA)