Poe, Tulfo seek probe into Laguna Lake tragedy | Inquirer News

Poe, Tulfo seek probe into Laguna Lake tragedy

/ 12:40 PM July 31, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Senators Grace Poe and Raffy Tulfo on Monday filed separate resolutions seeking to investigate the capsizing of the Princess Aya motorbanca in Laguna Lake (also known as Laguna de Bay) near Binangonan, Rizal.

The proposed inquiry was contained in Poe’s Senate Resolution (SR) No. 704 and Tulfo’s SR No. 705.

Poe, the committee chairperson on public services, said the probe aims to determine whether maritime regulations were followed before the vessel’s tipping over.


“Those responsible for the death of the 27 individuals and the trauma of the 43 rescued victims should be held accountable for this incident,” said Poe in a statement.


“This tragedy revealed serious maritime safety compliance lapses that need to be revisited to determine whether the regulations are insufficient to provide and ensure safe voyage of individuals at sea or whether there is simply complacency in the implementation,” she added.

Poe said the probe should look into the details to verify claims of overloading and other allegations.

Initial findings attributed the capsizing to overloading. Witness accounts say passengers crowded on the left side of the boat when winds buffeted the motorbanca.

In the resolution, Poe also said the operator, shipowner, and boat captain could be held liable for exceeding the seating capacity of the boat and for not providing life vests to the passengers.

The measure also noted that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) could be held accountable.

It said PCG failed to monitor the number of passengers boarding the boat, verify the manifest, and evaluate weather conditions even though the area had no typhoon signal.


Moreover, the resolution indicates that the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) could also be held liable under Section 9 of Republic Act No. 9295.

The law states: “All vessels operated by domestic ship operators shall at all times be in seaworthy condition properly equipped with adequate life-saving, communication, safety and other equipment operated and maintained.”

Tulfo’s resolution, meanwhile, calls for stronger safety measures for marine vessels in the Philippines.

SRN 705 also states that PCG, Marina, the Philippine Ports Authority, and other relevant government agencies should conduct a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the boat tragedy.

The three agencies and others must identify the causes and discover the lapses in safety control, training, vessel maintenance, and other potential negligence.

“The safety and well-being of individuals traveling via marine vessels are of utmost importance, and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the enforcement of stringent safety regulations to prevent similar incidents in the future,” Tulfo’s resolution reads.

Besides probing the incident, his resolution also urges a review and enhancement of existing regulations concerning maritime safety, particularly issues like overloading, vessel stability, passenger capacity limits, and emergency preparedness.

To improve marine safety standards, Tulfo also noted the need to establish a task force composed of representatives from the PCG, the Marina, the Philippine Ports Authority, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Tourism, and other relevant agencies.

The capsizing of the Princess Aya motorbanca occurred on the same day Typhoon Egay left the Philippine Area of Responsibility. As many as 27 lives were lost.


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TAGS: Binangonan, Laguna Lake, Princess Aya

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