Philippine Daily Inquirer

LEGAZPI CITY—Seven bodies believed to be those of passengers of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars were recovered on the shores of several coastal towns of Sorsogon province on Sunday, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) official reported Monday.

Ensign Jeffrey Collado, PCG-Bicol operations assistant, said three of the bodies were found at Barangay Behia in Magallanes town at around 9 a.m. One of the bodies was headless, while another was that of a woman.

Three others were recovered in Barangay Macalaya in Castilla town. One was identified through documents in his wallet as Carlito Balunan, 26, of San Isidro, Leyte; another was a woman wearing a life jacket; and the third was a man wearing a bracelet.

At around 10 a.m., a decomposing headless body was found at Barangay Marinab in Bulan town and was later buried at the municipal cemetery.

The Princess of the Stars, owned by Sulpicio Lines Inc., capsized and sank off Sibuyan Island in Romblon province on June 21 when the ferry sailed into the path of Typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) with more than 800 passengers and crew.

Retrieval mission

The National Disaster Coordinating Council report said more than 50 passengers have been rescued. But the latest list of the Philippine Coast Guard contained only 32 confirmed survivors and over 100 bodies retrieved off Sibuyan Island and in nearby provinces.

On Saturday, a woman’s body was buried in Minalabac town in Camarines Sur province. The victim, about 25 years old, was found on Friday night wearing a blouse with spaghetti straps, according to Chief Insp. Benjamin España, Minalabac police chief. Her head was severed from the body.

Three more bodies—all in advanced states of decomposition—were recovered by the Navy from the shore of Pasacao town in Camarines Sur on Thursday afternoon, Ensign Elmer Sumunod, spokesperson of the Naval Forces Southern Luzon, said on Friday. The bodies were immediately buried.

Fish scare

Search and retrieval operations were launched on Friday after four more bodies were sighted floating at sea.

Vice President Noli de Castro visited Pasacao on Thursday to partake of “cocido” (boiled fish) and steamed fish with town officials to prove that fish caught in the sea were safe to eat.

De Castro distributed cash to villagers whose livelihood was affected by the fish scare.

Dennis B. del Socorro, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said that fish caught in the area was safe to eat “as long as they are fresh and well cleaned of entrails.” Ephraim Aguilar, Roy Gersalia and Publio M. Peyra III, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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