Provincial Government of Bulacan

Alvarado leads incident command team for the search and rescue operations on drowning incident in Norzagaray River

CITY OF MALOLOS – Two days after the tragic drowning incident in Bakas River, Brgy. Matictic, Norzagaray, Bulacan, the two missing students from the Bulacan State University were found this morning.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairman Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado together with the Bulacan Rescue and the MDRRMC of Norzagaray led the search and rescue operations of Jericho Burgos, 17 years old from Brgy. Pangulag, Bulakan and Jaycie Ronwill Balitaosan, 19 years old from Brgy. Caingin, Meycauayan City at Pugpog River and Brgy. Calumpang in Norzagaray.

Alvarado, the incident commander, has established the incident command system together with Mayor Geronimo Ade Cristobal and local DRRM Officer Felicisima Mungcal. Each ICS member including Bulacan Rescue WASAR Team, Rescue Teams of Norzagaray, Bustos, Meycauayan, Obando, and Santa Maria, Philippine Army and PNP did their part on the said operation.

The two BulSU students together with their companion went to the said river to shoot their short film entry to the university’s 2017 Sine Bulacan Film Festival.

Based on the report gathered by PDRRMO, prior to the incident, the locals warned the group not to swim in the river because of the strong current.

Meanwhile, in an interview, the governor said that there will be a discussion with regard to passing a resolution that bans swimming in the said river.

“Upang makaiwas sa lunod, amin pong pag-uusapan ang pagbabawal na sa pagpapaligo sa nasabing ilog. Atin din pong hiniling na ihinto muna ng Angat Hydropower Corporation ang hydro power operation habang isinasagawa ang search and rescue operation,” the governor said.

He added that every time water is being released from the Angat Dam, a siren will be heard that serves as a warning for everyone swimming or near the river to go in a safer place.

Bulacan PNP officials said that one of the possible reasons for the drowning incident is the unfamiliarity of the victims on the high water level of the river especially at noon.