A Mindanaoan solon expressed disappointment over the incompetence and inept answers of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) officials on the fatal Basilan ferry fire incident.
Deputy Minority Leader and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman vowed to scrutinize the budget of MARINA in the P5.768 trillion 2024 national budget if the agency continues to offer no clear answers to questions surrounding the fatal ferry fire in Basilan last March.
“Lagpas tatlumpong katao ang namatay sa nasunog na M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 sa Basilan noong Marso, pero tila walang maisagot na maayos ang ating mga otoridad kung may nakasuhan na ba o anong parusa ang naipataw sa mga responsable sa trahedya,” Hataman said.
During the budget deliberation in the committee level, Hataman posed several questions to MARINA regarding the tragedy but the agency’s head Hernani Fabia appeared to be “crafty” and “unsure” in his answers.
“I asked about the status and findings of MARINA on the accountability of the owners of the M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 and if there were people charged. Sinagot ba naman tayo ng ‘parang na-suspend ang CTC ng barko,’” Hataman said.
“Ang sabi ko, bakit mo sususpindihin ang barko eh nasunog na nga? Hindi sigurado ang head ng MARINA sa kanyang mga sagot, mukhang hindi handa sa mga tanong natin, kaya itinigil na natin ang pagtatanong,” he added.
MARINA is defending its P1.105 billion budget for 2024.
At the end of Hataman’s interpellation, he asked to defer the budget of MARINA.
However, in the end, the committee agreed to approve the entire budget of DOTr including that of the maritime agency.