Wednesday Oct, 21 2020 03:35:07 PM

Cadavers of kids drowned in Simuay River found

Local News • 10:00 AM Tue Sep 29, 2020
John M. Unson
 The cadaver of drowned 10-year-old Rhea Balasa. (Contributed)

COTABATO CITY --- Rescuers found Monday the cadavers of three children drowned the day before in a large river in nearby Sultan Kudarat town, where a fourth victim is still missing.

The fatalities, Rhea Balasa, 10, her sibling, Renny, 8, and the 11-year-old Jennifer Suizo, were forced downstream to the western seacoast of Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao province, where the large Simuay River drains.

Sea search experts from the Bangsamoro region’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence, or READI contingent, members of the Sultan Kudarat municipal disaster risk reduction and management council and the local police are still searching for the missing five-year-old Rodelyn Balasa.

Police investigators said the victims were playing at a shallow stretch of the Simuay River when floodwaters, spawned by heavy rains in forested uplands, suddenly swelled the waterway, drowning all four of them.

Sultan Kudarat Mayor Shameem Mastura said Tuesday the search for the still missing child in their municipal seas shall continue until the still missing child is found.

Mastura has extended financial assistance and food provisions to the families of the children who perished in the incident.

Mastura said he is thankful to the READI contingent, operating under the office of Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Sinarimbo, for its prompt dispatch of a team with a watercraft for the search mission.

The READI responders and personnel of the Sultan Kudarat municipal police led by Major Julhamin Asdani are now scouring the coasts of the municipality using a rubber boat from Sinarimbo’s office.

Mastura said he is also grateful to the Philippine Coast Guard and the police’s Maritime Unit for cooperating in the operation.

He said he is now contemplating on declaring the Simuay River off limits to children. 


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