ILOILO

Marina extends operation of Guimaras wooden motorbancas

WOODEN-hulled motorbancas plying the Guimaras-Iloilo route vice versa can now operate until December of this year.

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) granted the request of the Jordan Motorbanca Cooperative (JMBC) to extend the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) of the wooden-hulled vessels traversing the Jordan, Guimaras-Iloilo route.

Marina-Western Visayas Director Engr. Jose Venancio Vero Jr. said the CPC of JMBC shall be extended until December 31, 2020.

The CPC of JMBC should have been expired last September 28, 2020, which also signals the beginning of the phase-out of the wooden-hulled vessels based on the transition plan developed by the organization after the August 3, 2019 sea tragedy.

In its request, JMBC cited the Covid-19 pandemic on the delayed delivery of their procured fiber glass vessels for their appeal to extend their Certificate of Public Convenience.

Vero underscored that the disruption of the operation of the motorbancas will disrupt the economic activities in the Province of Guimaras.

The action will also affect the livelihood of the ship owners and crews of the motorbancas, which is in contrast to the aim of the government to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

"The stoppage of operation of the motorbancas plying the route of Jordan-Iloilo and vice versa will result in disruption of economic activities in the Province of Guimaras and will have adverse effects to the livelihood of the ship owners and crew," read the Marina decision.

Vero added that the presence of other vessels such as the Ro-Ro and the Yohan are not sufficient to cater the needs of the Guimarasnons.

Delivery and transport of essential goods will be paralyzed once the operation of the wooden-hulled vessels is halted, according to Marina.

The agency has previously granted the request of the Buenavista Motorbanca Owners and Sailors Association (Bamosa) to extend their CPC until December 2020.

The August 3, 2019 sea tragedy that killed 31 people pushed the Department of Transportation to immediately implement the modernization of the sea transport in the Province of Guimaras. (PR)


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