THE Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said that they are still looking for the 19 people that were reported as missing from the fire that emanated from a passenger vessel off Basilan.
Likewise, the OCD said that the death toll remained at 32.
OCD spokesperson Undersecretary Raffy Alejandro told reporters that they are conducting retrieval and recovery operations for the remaining victims.
“So far, 32 na po ang reported na officially dead doon pero meron pa pong 19 missing na hopefully ma-recover natin doon sa area kung saan nangyari itong insidente,” he said.
Alejandro noted that of the 32 deaths, 16 recovered cadavers have not yet been identified because they were severely burned.
Earlier, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan Mayor Arsina Kahing-Nanoh said that they are having difficulty in the search, rescue, and retrieval operations due to an inaccurate manifest.
It will be recalled that MV Lady Mary Joy 3 was on its way to Jolo, Sulu from Zamboanga City on March 29 when the blaze hit the maritime vessel at around 10:40 p.m. It was declared fire out at 7:30 a.m. on March 30.
Catherine R. Cueto