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AKLAN, Philippines – Tragedy struck in Aklan as a young man lost his life to a lightning strike while his group ventured out to sea.
The incident occurred just moments before the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) issued an order on Wednesday, May 30, suspending fishing, water sports activities, and select trips to and from Aklan due to strong winds.
The police identified the fatality as 17-year-old Aklan John Rey Almoquera of Barangay Libertad, Nabas, Aklan.
Almoquera was with a group who went fishing, unaware that the PCG warned fishermen against venturing out to sea because of the risks.
The lightning struck Almoquera’s chest, killing him instantaneously on the waters off Nabas town.
Police said the other fishermen were unhurt.
The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in the Western Visayas region also issued an advisory on Wednesday morning, cautioning about heavy rain and landslides expected in Aklan and Antique.
In neighboring Malay, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office initially suspended boat operations to and from Boracay on Wednesday afternoon, but later resumed them as weather conditions improved. Some areas in Malay experienced flooding due to the heavy rain.
In the eastern towns of Kalibo and Batan, local governments suspended work starting at 1 pm on Wednesday.
In nearby Antique province, numerous commuters were stranded in Lauaan after the local government blocked the passage of public vehicles to temporary access roads due to flooding on Wednesday morning.
The Paliwan Bridge, intended to provide a safe route for commuters, was damaged by flash floods in November.
Errol Santillan, a former provincial board member, said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is currently reconstructing the bridge at a cost of nearly P285 million.
The reconstruction work commenced on April 5, and is expected to be completed after one year. – Rappler.com
Jun Aguirre is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.