ILOILO CITY, Aug 14 (PIA) -- Motor banca trips for Guimaras to Iloilo and vice versa resumed on August 13, 2019 after these were suspended following the sea tragedy that occurred on August 3 which resulted in 31 casualties.
Maritime Industry Authority VI regional director Jose Venancio A. Vero, Jr. issued a memorandum dated August 13, 2019 to all concerned operators of motor bancas plying the Guimaras to Iloilo route and vice versa, temporarily lifting the suspension of authority in order to address the stranding of passengers.
However, Vero said motor bancas will be allowed to sail subject to following conditions: passengers should wear life jackets at all times throughout the voyage; motor bancas shall carry passengers up to 75 percent of their authorized capacity only; the tarpaulin/canvass shall either be rolled-up or removed; the operation of motor bancas shall be during fair weather only; motor bancas shall be equipped with distress signals/equipment.
As of 9:20 a.m. of August 13, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Petty Officer 1st Class Maximino Labrador said about 12 passenger bancas left Parola Wharf, Iloilo City going to Buenavista and Jordan ports in Guimaras since 7:30 a.m.
Labrador said motor banca trips will be up to 6:00 p.m.
On the other hand, Mary Joy Garganera, president of the Association of Buenavista Ferry Services Providers who was at the Parola Wharf, was grateful that they were allowed again to sail noting the effect of the suspension to the livelihood of their crew and the mobility of their daily passengers particularly the students and workers going to Iloilo City and economy of the province.
Garganera also thanked organizations, individuals and firms for the relief assistance they have provided during the days when their operation was stopped.
One of the lessons that they learned from the sea mishap is to make sure that all the passengers have written down their names on the manifest which is the basis in determining who will be covered by the insurance benefits, said Garganera, adding that they will also comply with PCG's regulations.
Garganera owned the M/B Jenny Vince, one of the three passenger bancas that sank in Iloilo Strait on August 3.
Meanwhile, for a mother of two whose livelihood is dependent on rice cakes, cashew, and other products from Guimaras and who vends in Iloilo City everyday, the suspension of motor banca trips for almost two weeks meant "hunger" for her family.
Lydia Dableo said her income not only supports their basic needs but also the education of her senior high school and grade four students.
She thanked the concerned government agencies and officials who acted and responded on the matter. (JBG/laf/PIA6-Iloilo)