MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official on Monday confirmed that one of the two bodies they have recovered off the coast of Culion, Palawan was a passenger of the ill-fated ship M/V Josille II.
PCG Spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo said victim Jolito Buenafe was identified through the driver’s license found in his pocket.
Balilo said Buenafe’s remains were recovered near Barangay Malaking Patag.
Meanwhile, Balilo said they have yet to verify if the other body belongs to the woman only named as Antonia, who was one of three reported missing.
Balilo said if they confirm that the body belongs to Antonia, the death toll in the sea mishap will rise to 9, making 8-month-old Mark Angelo Esmeria the only passenger missing.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), citing a PCG report, said the ill-fated ship had 66 passengers. Eighteen were not named in the manifest.
M/V Josille II sank off El Nido, Palawan before midnight Tuesday last week.
The vessel originated from Liminancong Port in Taytay, Palawan and was supposed to make a stopover in El Nido before heading towards Manila.
However, the ship was battered by strong waves caused by a shallow low pressure area even before it reached the main island of Palawan.
Fifty-six people survived the sea mishap. – with a report from Noel Alamar, dzMM