A Senate investigation is being planned into the tragic capsizing of a passenger ferry in Laguna Lake near Binangonan, Rizal, which killed at least 27 people.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Senator Grace Poe said she will conduct a probe into the deadly incident “kapag meron pong nagfile na resolution sa Senado, kung si Senator Tulfo o kung sino pa sa ating mga kasamahan ako rin naman talaga ay nagbabalak na magkaroon ng pagdinig dito.”
In a news release, Senator Raffy Tulfo said he drafted a Senate resolution to ensure that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), “along with its officers are held accountable in the name of command responsibility whenever a ship or a boat sinks due to negligence.”
PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo earlier said the agency has relieved its personnel at the Binangonan substation following the incident.
The PCG is also eyeing to file charges against individuals involved in the capsizing mishap.
MARINA had suspended the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate (PSSC) of motorized banca Princess Aya “effective immediately until further notice from this authority,” following the
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, in a separate statement, said that “we must hold those responsible accountable for their actions or inactions that may have contributed to this tragedy.”
“There must be full transparency in their conduct of comprehensive and impartial inquiry into the incident,” Estrada said.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap na may natutulog sa pagtupad ng kanilang tungkulin kaya dapat lamang na patawan sila ng kaukulang parusa. Pero ang mas nakakadismaya ay ang malinaw na kapabayaan at pagpapairal ng kasakiman ng ilan sa ating mga kababayanan na mas prayoridad ang kita kesa sa buhay at kapakanan ng publiko. Dapat lamang na maparusahan sila ayon sa mga umiiral na batas,” Estrada said.
Senator Koko Pimentel, likewise, said that even the state weather bureau PAGASA should explain why no warning signal was raised in the area of the accident.
“‘Yung climate change nagpalakas kay Egay pero epekto sa ibang lugar na lumakas ang hangin dahil hinigop ng typhoon, alam na dapat natin yan noon pa. Tatanong natin sa hearing ano nangyari kahit walang signal kung ramdam mo hangin di ka ba magaalala,” Pimentel said.
Initial investigation showed the boat left the Port of Binangonan on Thursday and was en route to Talim Island when it was hit by strong winds 45 meters from land.
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, the MB Princess Aya capsized in Laguna Lake near Binangonan.
The PCG said the death toll from the incident was 27, while 40 survived.
The strong winds allegedly panicked the passengers who then moved to the left side of the vessel causing the vessel to tilt and capsize, the Philippine Coast Guard said.
The M/B Princess Aya was allowed to sail since the storm signals due to Typhoon Egay had been lifted. —VAL, GMA Integrated News