LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 9 (PNA) —- A team of five policemen and Army soldier, who were searching for an island east of Matnog port in Sorsogon for a reported shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) laboratory, were rescued and brought to safety after their motorboat capsized on their way back to the port on Tuesday, said a report that reached the Police Regional Office in Bicol (PRO5) Wednesday.
Sr. Insp. Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, PRO5 spokesperson, said the team left Matnog port at 10 a.m. on Tuesday for Tikling Island but halfway on their way back, giant waves smashed into their boat, causing it to sink around 3 p.m. that day.
Tikling could be reached in 30 to 40 minutes of sea travel from Matnog port, she noted.
She said the police team included Sr. Insp. Joseph Millares and SP01 Ruel Renolayan of the Regional Maritime Group-Bicol, SPO1 Ely Moraleda of Sorsogon Public Safety Company and P01 Christopher Docog of Sta. Magdalena Municipal Police Office; and Cpl. Joven Borbor of the 31st Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army.
Calubaquib said the Coast Guard at Matnog port and Sorsogon Maritime Police rescued the five policemen and corporal one hour after the mishap.
The team, however, lost some eight government-issued high powered assault rifles, handguns, magazines and ammunition, as well as P47,500 cash.
The firearms consisted of a baby Armalite, 2 M16 Armalite rifles, 1 M4 rifle, 3 Glock 17 pistols and a Stoegar Cougar pistol.
Calubaquib said some elements from the Matnog Municipal Police Office, the joint Army-PNP team, Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Divers are now conducting search and retrieval operations to recover the firearms.
She said PRO5 plans to conduct another operation against the reported shabu facility. (PNA) LAP/GVR/JH/AT/EDS