Bantay Dagat member shot dead off Cebu town

02/18/2011 - CEBU CITY, Philippines—A sea patrol member was shot dead by suspected illegal fishermen off Argao town at dawn Friday, an official said.

Alvin Crisanto Lucero Galeos was with three other Bantay Dagat members patrolling the waters near a marine sanctuary when they were fired upon by a gunman on board a pump boat, said Bantay Dagat program director Anthony Villegas.

Galeos, 39, of Barangay Poblacion, Argao town, about 68 kilometers south of Cebu City, was hit in the chest while his four companions managed to jump off the boat, Villegas said.

He was rushed to the Argao district hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Villegas said his men were about to apprehend five fishermen who were catching fish using a compressor, a fishing method declared illegal by the Argao municipality.

As they approached the vessel, the Bantay Dagat members were fired upon by one of the fishermen, he said.

Villegas said some members of the patrolling team could identify the fishermen, who were believed to have come from other municipality.

Argao mayor Edcel Galeos, a second degree cousin of the victim, assured the Galeos' family that the municipal government would extend financial assistance to them.

Galeos was receiving around P5,000 in monthly honorarium as a member of the Bantay Dagat.

This was the second incident in three months in Cebu where a Bantay Dagat team was killed by illegal fishermen.

On December 22 last year, Rudy Sultan, a member of the Bantay Dagat of Cordova town was killed by two illegal fishermen who were apprehended and were about to be brought to the shore.

However, Sultan and the two fishermen did not arrive ashore.

The suspects, Luis Fernandez and Felipe Yongco from Talisay City, Cebu, who were arrested the same day, claimed that Sultan fell off the boat when they grappled for the victim's gun.

Sultan's decomposed body was found three days later.

Fernandez and Yongco said the wounds on Sultan's body could have been caused by the boat's propeller.(Inquirer)

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