Philippines deploys rescue teams for distracted lovers

Posted at 02/14/14 1:12 PM

MANILA - Rescuers are deploying in the Philippines' Manila Bay to help distracted lovers aboard boats who could fall into the water while on Valentine's Day cruise dates, the coastguard said Friday.

The authorities expect the bay, with its spectacular views of the sunset, to throb with activity by sundown as couples hop onto yachts and cruise ships for deck-side, candle-lit dinners accompanied by romantic music from live bands.

Hundreds of lovers are expected in the area until midnight, and the main danger would be people falling overboard, coastguard spokesman Commander Armando Balilo said in a statement announcing the safety measures.

"We cannot prevent people from being sweet on Valentine's Day but they should be alert and be mindful of their safety, be mindful of their environment," he said.

"They should not only gaze into each other's eyes or show public display(s) of affection."

Coastguard personnel would be aboard two private cruise ships with four boatloads of rescuers patrolling the waters, while two other boat teams would be on standby ashore, Balilo said.

"Our Coast Guard personnel on board the cruise ships would be reminding the passengers on the safety procedure and they would also be informing them of the location of the life jackets," Balilo said.

Valentine's Day is widely celebrated in this largely-Roman Catholic country, with many couples scheduling romantic events for the occasion.