Tacloban fishermen calls for removal of skeletons, debris in Cancabato Bay

By Vicky C. Arnaiz

TACLOBAN CITY, Nov. 29 (PNA) – Fisher folks in the badly-hit San Jose district in this city has called on the government and other groups to help them remove thousands of skeletons and tons of debris in the depths of Cancabato Bay.

Losanto P. Castillo, Jr., chairman of Tacloban Fisherfolks Urban Association (TFUA) of Fisherman’s village in San Jose district said that not only skeletons were found in the bay, but also vehicles, house appliances and other personal possessions that were washed out during the storm.

“Our appeal is that the bay should be cleaned. We are willing to work hand in hand with the local government unit, the non-government organizations. The catch of the bay has been affected because it is now polluted,” Castillo said.

On Thursday, four skeletal remains of super typhoon “Yolanda” victims were retrieved at the Cancabato Bay.

Persida Rueda Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) led the retrieval operation of skeletal remains. She arrived with a forensic team on Wednesday.

San Jose district, the most populous place in the coastal area of the city got the biggest blow of Yolanda when it hit land as the strongest typhoon on November 8, 2013.

The deaths in San Jose district was estimated to be 70 percent of the city’s 2,700 death toll. The skeletons are said to belong to a 25-year old man and the 60-year old woman.

Acosta said that their office received a letter, hand-carried by the running priest Robert Reyes, who was in Tacloban during the second year commemoration of Yolanda.

“The PAO immediately acted on the urgent request of the fisherfolks to retrieve the bones of the typhoon victims in Cancabato Bay. The letter stated that around 1,600 skeletons are found buried in the depths of the bay, according to Acosta.

Emilio Dador, 65, vice-president of the fisherman’s organization claimed they already approached the local government, various organizations, the city council in charge on fisheries, but their request since more than a year ago have been denied.

Reyes, who helped the urban poor said that it is time to clean up the bay, but the government should give alternative ways of giving livelihood to these fisherfolks. “The dirt from the land are thrown to the dirty waters of

Cancabato and we are not helping the environment and climate change mitigation,” Reyes said, who arrived with the PAO team.

Two full and half body were retrieved, including two skulls. There are also hood of a car, another body of car.

Acosta added that these are already archeological items because it’s already skeletal remains. We hope people will come up with their stories to match the identity of the found skeletons.

“We should return these skeletal remains to their loved ones, so they will have closure. If there won’t be any claims, these could be taken cared and preserved in the main office with other archeological finds,” Acosta added. (PNA)