Binangonan tragedy

Deeper probe into deadly Rizal boat mishap pressed

July 30, 2023 Jester P. Manalastas 197 views

FOLLOWING the tragic capsizing of a motorized boat in Rizal, a lawmaker is pushing for the compulsory donning of life jackets on all passenger motorized boats.

Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo extended condolences to the bereaved families of the 27 passengers who have died after the MB Aya Express capsized in the waters of Binangonan, Rizal during the onset of Typhoon Egay.

According to Rillo, every traveler on a motorized boat should be wearing a life jacket at all times throughout the voyage as a precaution. This is a simple and practical measure that can help safeguard lives at sea, or in lakes and rivers.

“If you visit beach resorts nowadays, and you hire a motorized boat for an island-hopping tour, they will require everybody onboard to put on a life jacket for protection. The same rule should be applied to all light watercraft carrying paying passengers,” Rillo said.

With a seating capacity of 42 passengers, the vessel was overloaded with 67 people, 27 of whom drowned in the lake that has an average depth of 2.8 meters or 9 feet and two inches.

The watercraft was on its way to Talim Island near the center of the country’s largest lake when it was buffeted by strong waves and rolled over.

A criminal investigation is underway, and the Philippine Coast Guard has since relieved two of its officers who allowed the vessel to set out despite the “no-sail policy” due to Supertyphoon Egay and the apparent overloading.

Motorized boats routinely ferry passengers across various points around the lake that is surrounded by Metro Manila and the provinces of Rizal and Laguna.
For her part, Senator Grace Poe asked authorities to pursue a thorough and airtight investigation on the capsizing of a boat off the waters of Binangonan, Rizal to make those responsible accountable.

“Nakakagalit at nakakalungkot itong nangyaring ito. Hindi biro ang pagkawala ng ganung karaming buhay dahil lang sa kapabayaan o baka sa pangungurakot, kaya dapat nating alamin sa imbestigasyon,” Poe said.

“Dapat mapanagot kung sinuman ang responsable sa trahedyang ito,” she added.

The senator said the investigation must shed light on crucial questions such as why the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) allowed the motorboat to sail despite the strong winds and heavy rains.

Poe said the boat’s owner and the PCG should also explain why there were more passengers on the vessel than its allowed capacity. She pointed out reports that the passengers had no life vests.

“Required ang life vest sa bawat isang pasahero na maglalayag sa tubig. Kailangan nila ito para mabigyan sila ng pagkakataong maisalba ang sarili nila,” she added.

Poe said the probe should determine liability and mete out punishment for those to blame.

“Hindi lang dapat i-relieve o paalisin sa pwesto ang mapapatunayan na may kasalan, dapat ay kasuhan,” she said.

“Kasi okay lang sige tanggal tayo sa trabaho ngayon pero makakahanap tayo ng ibang trabaho na walang repercussion,” she added.

Poe said the investigation may also include the victims of past sea tragedies to determine the outcome of their case and whether their families have been properly compensated.

With Camille P. Balagtas