Every year, thousands of Filipinos die by drowning, and, as investigations would reveal, many of those victims didn’t know how to swim.
Some of these incidents took place during a typhoon — or in the midst of incessant monsoon rains. Others happened in maritime disasters, such as the sinking of MV Doña Paz in 1987.
In certain cases, perhaps the ability to swim may not have been able to count for much. But even with the best of weather conditions — and without a precipitating disaster — many drowning incidents have happened in the country. In last year’s Holy Week alone, for instance, dozens of fatalities in various tourist spots were reported — from waterfalls and creeks to swimming pools and beach resorts.
Surely, there were other factors at play: lack of supervision (particularly for young children), inadequate equipment, among others. But there remains the question of how many deaths could have been prevented had the victims possessed some swimming ability.
Photo by Jun Acullador