Poe seeks swift resolution of Iloilo sea tragedy case
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday called on investigators to immediately determine where the liability lies on the deadly sea tragedy that happened in the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait over the weekend.
“Unang-una, bakit pinayagan na maglayag kahit malaki ang alon at umuulan. Pangalawa, may report na nga na tumaob ‘yung unang umalis na bangka, bakit pinaalis pa ‘yung iba. Pangatlo, bakit may kwento ang ilang pasahero na wala silang life vest?” Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement.
The Philippine Coast Guard earlier said it had already dispatched marine investigators to the area where three motorboats capsized due to strong winds and big waves off the coast of Iloilo and Guimaras on Saturday.
In the wake of the incident, Poe renewed her call for the creation of a national transport body in a bid to make all forms of travel safer for Filipinos.
“Gusto natin na ‘pag nagbibiyahe tayo, hindi nalalagay sa hukay ‘yung isa nating paa. Dapat ligtas tayong makakarating sa ating pupuntahan,” Poe said.
The senator explained that under Senate Bill No.125 or the proposed National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Act of 2019, the independent and non-regulatory body would be mandated to investigate transportation-related accidents on land, sea and air, including railway and pipeline systems.
The proposed NTSB would also conduct safety inspections on land, sea and air transportation and appraise or assess existing practices and policies regarding the transportation sector.
The body, Poe noted, could also undertake and publish studies on making transportation as safe and free from risk of injury as possible.
Among other functions, the NTSB would also look into the causes and other factors of transport accidents and helping to prevent them, she added.
Aside from the proposed national transport body, Poe said she is also set to file a resolution seeking to check the status of the proposed Iloilo-Guimaras Island Bridge project.
She noted that the said project would boost economic development in the Western Visayas region and would connect Iloilo to Guimaras, easing the flow of goods and services.
It will also boost tourism in the region, which is known for its white-sand beaches, she added. /jpv
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