A 10-year-old boy went missing after he was attacked Sunday evening by a saltwater crocodile in Barangay Salang, Balabac.
Balabac Municipal Police Station (MPS) chief P/Lt. Nebuchadnezzar Matrio, who only identified the father of the boy as Robincio Suraping, said the victim was attacked while riding a small banca across the river in Salang with his two older siblings.
Matrio said the incident was reported to their office on August 12 by Suraping, a seaweed farmer.
He said the attack happened after their father asked the victim and his siblings, aged 12 and 15, to buy coffee in a village store across the river.
“Mga alas sais ng hapon nangyari, takipsilim na. Inutusan sila ng tatay nila na bumili ng kape sakay ng bangka patawid sa kabila papunta sa tindahan. May kasama siyang nakatatanda sa kanya, ate niya at kuya. Nakita talaga ng kuya at ate niya na inatake siya ng buwaya. Hanggang ngayon nawawala pa itong bata,” said Matrio.
He said the victim’s older sister and brother escaped after he was snatched by the estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
Matrio said Suraping told them that his son was bitten by the crocodile on the side of his abdomen and pulled underwater from the banca.
“Ang sakmal ay sa may tagiliran kasi nakaupo siya sa bandang hulihan ng bangka. Sa may tagiliran, sa may baywang siya nasakmal. Pagkasakmal, lumangoy na pailalim ang buwaya at hindi na lumutang,” said Matrio.
He said a search and retrieval operation is now being conducted by joint personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG), Balabac Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) barangay officials, and the victim’s family.
He said the Surapings are residents of nearby Brgy. Catagupan but are temporarily living on a floating house in Sitio Tagpanasan, Salang to manage their seaweed plantation area.
“Nagtatanim sila ng seaweeds kaya ang kanilang bahay andoon sa gitna ng tubig. Hindi ko masabi pero syempre inaasahan na makita ang bata,” said Matrio.