BAGUIO CITY – When police officials here saw the need for boats in flood-stricken Cagayan, they realized that the solution for this problem was floating idly in the middle of the city.
Thus, Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Director Col. Allen Rae Co immediately contacted the boat concessionaires, who rent out the popular fiberglass, pedal-powered swan pontoons at the famous lagoon of Burnham Park, if they could borrow their boats for use as rescue boats in Cagayan.
Vivian Celso willingly lent two of her boats, which were immediately transported to Cagayan Sunday night onboard a boat trailer from the Pangasinan Police Marine Office. Each boat, which bears the design of a swan, can accommodate as many as 10 persons.
Celso reportedly told Co that “if her boats can help save a life, it will all be for a worthy cause.”
He said Celso actually lent four “swan” boats to the BCPO for use in Cagayan, but they had to beg off and content themselves with transporting only two due to logistics problems.
Co noted that the boats have rigid hulls, and are made of fiberglass that would be perfect in navigating through flooded town centers where sharp debris, like G.I. sheets, could easily puncture rubber boats.
Police Regional Office (PRO) Cordillera Director Brig. Gen. R’win Pagkalinawan recalled that these “swan” boats have been deployed a decade ago in La Trinidad, Benguet, to rescue residents stranded due to floods caused by typhoon Peping.
As of press time, the BCPO team and the PRO-Cordillera water search and rescue (WASAR) team are on their way to Cagayan through Tabuk City in Kalinga, with their cargo of “swan” boats.