TACLOBAN City, July 3, 2015 -– The clergy of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Ormoc City did not waste time in visiting survivors and in blessing the bodies of those who died in a sea mishap off the bay in Ormoc yesterday.
38 people were confirmed dead and 15 others reported missing as of today, after the two-decked MB Kim Nirvana capsized 10 minutes from leaving the port of Ormoc, about 200 meters from the shores of Ormoc City, at 12:20 p.m. yesterday on its way to Camotes Island in Cebu.
Fr. Isagani Petilos, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, led his fellow clergy and church volunteers in blessing the dead at the funeral parlor and at the Ormoc Doctors Hospital.
“I was in the pier watching the rescue and retrieval operations together with other government agencies, I found out that there were around 20 survivors staying overnight at the Supercat terminal,” he narrated.
The priest offered accommodations at the parish pastoral center but he was assured that the city government had taken care of the survivors.
A Mass was offered this morning, as well as yesterday afternoon for the victims who died in the sea tragedy.
There were 176 passengers and 16 crew on board when the motorized banca left Ormoc. The boat capsized when it met huge waves on its way to Camotes Island.
Among the passengers were traders bringing their farm yields and other merchandise to Camotes island. Survivors accounts have it, too, that among the products on board were sacks of rice and cement.
Frogmen of the Philippine Coast Guard believe that passengers are still trapped in the first floor of the vessel.
Survivors alleged that the ferry’s bow suddenly tilted up when it encountered strong waves. This caused the vessel to flip over on one side turning the banca upside down, trapping the passengers under the boat.
The church is hopeful that more survivors will be rescued. The clergy also calls for continued prayers for those who perished, as well as for survivors. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCP News)