February 9, 2023

The swan boat hired by residents and tourists alike at the Burnham Park lake is more than an attraction, as it has helped in the ongoing rescue efforts in Cagayan and Isabela, which have been flooded for days after Typhoon Ulysses battered northern Luzon last week.

After seeing the need for additional rescue equipment for trapped residents of Cagayan and Isabela, boat operator Vivian Celso coordinated with the Baguio City Police Office and volunteered to lend her boats-for-hire for the rescue efforts.

The Police Regional Office-Cordillera has reported the boats, capable of carrying 10 people at a time, are ideal in rescue operations for the fiberglass hulls are not easily punctured compared to rubber boats.

Last Nov. 15, the swan boat, a rubber boat, and two pontoons were sent to Cagayan aboard a boat trailer from the PNP Maritime Group based in Pangasinan.

The swan boat was a sight to behold for in the midst of muddy floodwaters, the white and blue swan boat stood out.

Seeing the boats or even letting children ride in them will help children forget the trauma of experiencing a calamity such as the massive flood brought about by Typhoon Ulysses, one netizen commented.

The boats have been deployed at Amulung, Cagayan and were used in the transportation of residents in Barangays Anquiray and Abollo. 

Other initiatives in the Cordillera to help Cagayan and Isabela are the opening of a regional donations’ hub by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, deployment of search and water rescue team and delivery of family food packs by the PRO-Cor, and augmentation rescue personnel from the Kalinga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

There was also deployment of personnel from the Tabuk City Police Office for the distribution of relief items; prepositioning of ambulance, medical kits, and equipment; and financial and humanitarian assistance from local governments of Apayao, Mountain Province, Benguet, and Baguio, among other relief efforts. – Rimaliza A. Opiña