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PIA Press Release

200 remains from Princess of the Stars to arrive in Cebu City

Cebu City (November 10) -- Around 200 bodies retrieved from the capsized Princess of the Stars will arrive in Cebu City tomorrow morning via the Tacloban Princess that will leave Sibuyan Island in Romblon this afternoon bound for Cebu.

The Disaster Victim Identification - Information Management Center (DVI-IMC) made this announcement mid-afternoon today as members of the media through the Philippine Information Agency (PIA-7) are advised to cover the arrival of the first batch of remains at the passenger terminal of Sulpicio Lines at Pier 4 in Cebu City.

A press briefing is set at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow prior to the arrival of the vessel that is carrying the bodies.

Last week, a statement from the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Task Force announced plans to hold a requiem mass at the Cebu International Port (CIP) once the bodies will arrive here.

The recovered remains which are in an advanced state of decomposition will be examined in Cebu by forensic experts from the International Police (Interpol) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for positive identification using the latest in DNA technology, the same statement read.

The DNA matches are made at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) laboratory in Sarajevo using DNA samples taken from the remains of the victims and samples from at least two of their direct relatives, this is said.

An estimated 820 passengers and crew members drowned when the boat capsized at the height of Typhoon Frank's fury last June 21. Of the total figure, 591 victims of the sea tragedy have remained unaccounted for.

"When Interpol first started its work on the DVI process in the Philippines last July, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said our goal was to ensure the accurate and dignified identification of victims brought to us for identification. That will remain our goal until our work here is done," Nimal Mahagamage, Team Leader of Interpol's Incident Response Team (IRT) said.

Interpol-IRT, which includes DVI experts and a representative from ICMP, has been working round the clock with Philippine authorities to identify recovered bodies of Typhoon Frank victims.

The entire process regarding the identification of the recovered remains may take some time to complete due to the complexity of the processes involved; thus, authorities urge people not to come forward to claim remains in Cebu City until they have been officially contacted by the NBI. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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