THE family of each casualty in the sinking of mb Kim Nirvana-B last July 2 will receive P200,000 in insurance benefits, as mandated by Republic Act 9295, or the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004.

Rodulfo Paner of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 8 said the insurance adjuster of British Insurance Corp. in Tacloban City assured him that the insurance company will pay the benefits to the victims’ families, as long as the victims were on the passenger manifest.

“So, if all the 62 fatalities were listed on the manifest, all their surviving families will receive P200,000 each,” Paner said.

In a separate interview, Marina 7 Director Nanette Villamor-Dinopol said he told the insurance adjuster to go to Pilar so he could talk with the families of the victims and fast-track the process.

“I told Pilar Mayor Jet (Jesus) Fernandez every family of the fatalities will receive P200,000 in insurance benefit claims and the survivors will receive medical reimbursements,” Dinopol said.

Required

The passenger insurance coverage is a pre-requisite in the registration of vessels with Marina.

Paner said mb Kim Nirvana-B was newly built by Monis Pumpboat Maker, a registered ship builder based in Camotes in northern Cebu. It was registered last May 7.

“We issued the ship safety certificate after its owner (Joge Bong Zarco) complied with the pre-requisites, such as life-saving appliances, firefighting equipment and licenses of the crew and officers.

Zarco owns another vessel, mb Kim Nirvana, which is older and smaller. It plies the Ormoc-Pilar route.

Zarco and the vessel captain are detained in Ormoc City without bail after police filed multiple murder charges against them as a result of the incident.

On record, Paner said mb Kim Nirvana-B had an authorized passenger seating capacity of 178 and was required to have a minimum of six crew and officers.

Paner said his office is investigating the sinking of mb Kim Nirvana-B because it is the mandate of PCG.

Assistance

The Cebu Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) already sent a team to Pilar, Camotes in northern Cebu to assist families of casualties and survivors. It also sent a team to Ormoc City to help families secure vital documents, settle payables and process insurance claims.

PSWDO Head Rose Sosa said the Province and the Pilar Municipal Government will help families of casualties with wake and burial expenses.

She said the Province already assured funeral parlors and hospitals that they will help pay for the victims’ obligations.

Meanwhile, the PSWDO said it will conduct stress debriefing for the families after the casualties are buried.

In Tudela, the town’s municipal social welfare and development officer has started debriefing survivors and their families, said Tudela Vice Mayor Jojo Solante.

Si Mayor (Erwin) Yu ug kaming mga SB nangunay pagbisita sa tagsa-tagsa ka mga biktima og amo silang gi-istoryahan (We, members of the Municipal Council, and Mayor Erwin Yu have been visiting and talking with each of the victims’ families),” he said.

Forty-five coffins were brought to Pilar last Sunday. Seven were forwarded to Tudela and one each to Poro and San Francisco.

Cash aid

Solante said the mayor will distribute P10,000 each to the families of casualties. Families of the five senior citizens who died in the accident will receive an additional P2,000.

The nine Tudela survivors will get P3,000 each.

Solante said that only seven of the 11 casualties will be buried in the town. The rest will be buried in Leyte.

In Cebu City, the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council (PCAC) asked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to conduct random checks of all motorized boats in the port of Barangay Pasil to make sure these are equipped with life-saving gears.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who chairs the PCAC, specifically wants PCG to inspect the boats to see if these have sufficient life jackets.

“We urged the PCG not to limit their inspection to boats in Pier 1, 2 and 3, but to also include the Pasil area, where there are many boats plying the Bohol-Cebu route,” Labella told reporters after the PCAC meeting yesterday.

He said the operation of some of these boats is sometimes not monitored.