Survivor of Maharlika 2 shocked by reports he’s missing

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/20 September) – He was saved by another vessel after the ferry he was riding, M/V Maharlika 2, sank off Southern Leyte last Saturday. Later, however, reports named him as among the missing passengers of the ill-fated ferry.

On Friday, Alberto Labadan of Bislig City, Surigao del Sur returned to Surigao City to tell authorities he was not missing as reported by TV and radio stations. (MindaNews also reported on Friday that he was among the missing passengers. – Ed)

“I’m shocked by the news reports that I’m among the missing persons when I am not,” he told reporters Friday.

He said he was among the passengers rescued by St. Martin, an international vessel.

His first name however was listed as John not Alberto.

Labadan was supposed to arrive in Manila on Monday to apply for an overseas work in Dubai, UAE.

He lamented that his budget for the trip, part of which was loaned, was gone.

“I’m appealing to generous individual to help me so I can work in Dubai,” he told reporters.

He said he was bothered [by the reports] because it might affect his application for work abroad.

Emmanuel Carpio, regional director of the Maritime Industry Authority said only two passengers remained missing. They are Felizardo Saberon, 61, San Pedro, Laguna, and Noel Culminar of Basey, Samar.

He said Labadan was presumed dead because he could not be located by retrieval teams after at least four days of search.

Maharlika 2, operated and managed by PhilHarbor Ferries and Port Services Inc., left Lipata port here for Liloan, Southern Leyte on Saturday morning despite the strong winds and rough seas. It developed a steering problem after over an hour of sailing.

The vessel carried 58 passengers and 26-crew based on the manifest. But it turned out the boat actually had 32 crew members and 88 passengers aboard.

At 2 p.m., survivors said the boat leaned on its starboard and began to sink. At 5:30 p.m. the ship’s skipper declared “abandon ship.” By 6 p.m., the boat dived, together with its 13 rolling cargoes.

At least eight people were dead while 111 managed to survive in the sea mishap. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)