BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Seven deaths were recorded on the first day of 2021 in Negros Occidental, aside from the flashfloods that hit three cities and one town in the 3rd District.
Three of the seven victims were killed in separate shooting incidents, three others drowned, while a minor died in a vehicular accident, police said.
Two suspects on a motorcycle shot and killed Jomar Pahamutang, alias Ago, in his house in Purok Sigay, Brgy. 2, Bacolod City, the police said.
Pahamutang, 27, a drug surrenderee, sustained gunshot wounds in the chest and stomach, and was declared dead on arrival at the Riverside Medical Center, Lt. Col. Ariel Pico, spokesperson of the Bacolod City Police Office, said.
Recovered at the crime scene were six fired cartridges and a slug of a .45 caliber pistol.
The police also reported that Edgar Atido, a radio operator of the Binalbagan Police Station, was shot several times by a still unidentified gunman in Sitio Siag, Brgy. Maytubig, Isabela, Negros Occidental.
Atido, 52, of Brgy. Tinongan, Isabela, was declared dead on arrival at the Ignacio Arroyo Memorial District Hospital in Isabela, Capt. Joseph Partidas, town police chief, said, adding that two fired cartridges of a .45 caliber pistol were recovered at the crime scene.
A certain Mercidito Pique, 56, was also declared dead on arrival in a hospital, after being shot allegedly by his cousin, Noel Geopano, 45, also on Jan. 1, in Sitio Sampaguita, Barangay Quezon in San Carlos City.
Police investigations showed the heated arguments that ensued between Pique and Geopano had led to the shooting incident.
Meanwhile, three persons, including a minor, were reported by the police and Philippine Coast Guard to have separately drowned on Jan. 1 in Negros Occidental.
The body of Ramil Panes was found Jan. 2 in the shoreline of Villa Miranda in Brgy. 6-A, Victorias City, the police said.
Police chief, Lt Col. Eduardo Corpuz, said Panes was on his way home to Brgy. 1 in Victorias City, after a drinking spree with his friends amid the New Year’s Eve revelry in Brgy. 2, to check on his family because of the flashflood that occurred, but was reported missing later.
The PCG also reported that Justine de Leon, 8, was declared dead on arrival in a hospital, after he drowned in Purok 4, Brgy. Asia, Hinobaan.
De Leon, his three siblings, and their father had gone swimming when the accident took place.
Rescuers tried to save De Leon but he was declared dead at the Eleuterio Decena Memorial Hospital in Hinobaan, the Coast Guard stationed in the area said.
A certain Junjun Solomon, 22, was also declared dead on arrival by Dr. Michelle Villagomesa at the Valeriano Gatuslao District Hospital, after he drowned at a beach resort in Sitio Batang, Brgy. Talaban, Himamaylan City.
Maj. Romeo Vargas, Himamaylan City police chief, said that Solomon and other members of his family were having a drinking spree at the Belgium Resort in the place.
The victim, who was reportedly drunk, went for a swim by himself. He was later found unconscious by Shyrie Anne Liboon, initial investigation of the Himamaylan City Police Station showed.
A 14-year-old also died, while his two companions, both minors, were injured in a vehicular accident, also on Jan. 1, at Araneta Street in Brgy. Tangub, Bacolod City.
Initial police investigations showed that the Nissan Navara Calibre, driven by a 17-year-old, was going north when it hit the center island in front of Transcom call center.
The vehicle flipped over to the opposite lane, and the police said it took time for rescuers to extricate then victims as the car was a total wreck.
The driver and another passenger, 15, are now being treated at the Bacolod Adventist Hospital.
Two beachgoers were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard, on Jan. 1, at the territorial waters of Purok 2 in Barangay 1, Hinobaan.
Coast Guard provincial chief, Lt. Cmdr. Ludovico Librilla, said Jhondel Apolinario, 28, and a 12-year-old boy, were swimming and were swept away by a strong current into a deep portion in the area.
Barangay resident Irish Tulayba immediately sought the help of Coast Guard personnel for the rescue of Apolinario and the minor. Librilla said that Seaman First Class (SN1) Romulo Ceralbo and Apprentice Seaman Arjohn Villafranca responded to the call for help, and managed to save the lives of the two beachgoers, who are both residents of Brgy. Pacol in Valladolid, Negros Occidental.*