A fisherman who was gathering nipa fronds in a river in Barangay Poblacion VI in Balabac island town sustained bite wounds on his left leg after fighting off a saltwater crocodile that attacked him Wednesday morning.
2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG) information officer P/Lt. Anna Viola Abenojar said Jomarie Diaz, 26, a resident of the said barangay, remains confined in a health facility in Balabac for injuries sustained during the crocodile attack.
She said the attack happened around 10:30 a.m. while Diaz was collecting nipa leaves in a river near the Balabac National High School.
“Nakipag-struggle siya doon sa buwaya (Crocodylus porosus), nakaalis na din siya sa area kung saan siya inatake. Nakita siya ng uncle niya na sugatan na. Tinulungan siya at naialis siya doon sa area. Tumawag sila sa PCSD (Palawan Council for Sustainable Development), tapos ang PCSD na rin ang tumawag sa tropa namin na agad rumesponde,” Abenojar said.
Abenojar said that based on information she gathered from the PCSD, the river in Poblacion VI is a known crocodile habitat.
Residents of the barangay, she added, often spot crocodiles in the area but have to brave going to the river because of the livelihood it provides.
“Yong area na yon habitat talaga siya ng mga buwaya. Kasi saltwater itong buwaya. So, maliban pa sa nandoon sa dagat, yon talaga pinupuntahan nila at habitat kasi nila,” she said.
“Madalas nakikitaan ng crocodile, kaya lang siyempre ang mga kababayan natin kahit alam nilang may buwaya doon, sa pangangailangan na rin ay hindi maiwasan na pumunta sa ilog,” she added.
Abenojar said that as far as she knows, since 2015, around 40 crocodile attacks had already been recorded in Balabac.