Congressional inquiry sought anew over Cebu sea tragedy-A A +A
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
ANOTHER House member has called for an investigation into the government's regulation of the shipping industry after the collision of a Cebu-bound passenger ship and a cargo vessel in August, killing at least 108 people.
Parañaque City Representative Gus Tambunting filed House Resolution 221 calling for a review of existing practices in ship maintenance, crew training and accreditation to mitigate the occurrence of fatal and environmentally destructive sea disasters.
"The almost yearly occurrence of sea accidents involving inter-island shipping companies that operate ferries of various sizes and displacement, which have caused the loss of thousands of lives, as well as severe and long lasting environmental devastation due to the effects of oil spills and the discharge of other noxious chemicals into our seas, calls into question the existing measures to regulate this industry in general and the shipping companies in particular," Tambunting said in his resolution.
On August 16, M/V St. Thomas Aquinas passenger ferry of 2GO Group sank after colliding with the cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete of Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. off Talisay City in Cebu.
Over the years, Tambunting said several major sea accidents involving inter-island ferries have been documented, including the worst peace-time shipping disaster in the world -- the sinking of the M/V Doña Paz in December of 1987, which killed more than 4,300 persons.
Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon also called for a House committee on transportation probe to review the government’s supervision and regulation of water transport operations in the country.
Expected to be summoned in the probe are officials of Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard.
During the budget hearing of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) said its report on the collision off the coast of Cebu province will be released within this week.
"Dapat may makitang punitive action ang publiko dito," Ridon said during the hearing held Monday. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)