Devaluing lives: M/B Princess Aya's boat captain admits 'gifting' PCG with bananas, P50 cash | Inquirer News

Devaluing lives: M/B Princess Aya’s boat captain admits ‘gifting’ PCG with bananas, P50 cash

/ 03:39 PM August 08, 2023

The boat captain of ill-fated MB Princess Aya admits "gifting" PCG personnel with bananas and P50 cash

FILE PHOTO: The capsized passenger boat M/B Princess Aya, in Binangonan, Rizal province, Philippines, July 28, 2023. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA, Philippines — It only took P100-worth of bananas and mere P50 cash for unlicensed boat captain Donald Anain to violate maritime rules and expedite M/B Princess Aya’s sailing amid dangerous weather conditions.

Senators on Tuesday heard the disturbing revelation at the Senate hearing investigating the tragic capsizing of M/B Princess Aya in Laguna de Bay that left 27 people dead.


Senator Raffy Tulfo asked Anain how he could sail despite clearly violating maritime rules such as overloading and the absence of a boating license.

“Pangiti lang ‘yon, Sir. Ang pangiti, Sir, ay pwede kang magdala [ng in-kind]. Alak, tinapay, sigarilyo. Bumili lang po ako ng 100 pesos na saging. ‘Yun lang po, Sir. Tapos 50 pesos na pera, Sir — pang meryenda,” Anain admitted before senators.

(That’s only a gift, Sir. A gift means giving in-kind such as alcohol, bread, and cigarettes. I bought P100 worth of bananas. That’s all, Sir. And then P50 in cash.)

READ: Death toll reaches 27 in Binangonan motorbanca capsizing – PCG

Anain said he got the Philippine Coast Guard’s approval and signature – which allowed him to operate the ill-fated MB Princess Aya and leave the port on July 27 – after he gave the “gifts.”

Senator Grace Poe said she is no longer surprised about knowing that a scheme described by Anain exists.


“Alam mo hindi na tayo nagtataka na may ganung kaganapan. Bakit magbubulagbulagan kung walang padulas?” Poe, who presided over the hearing, told reporters.

(You know we are not surprised that such a thing is happening. Why turn a blind eye if there’s no grease?)

Poe noted that P50 could go a long mile considering the number of boats that venture into the lake daily.

“Kung 50 pesos [ang padulas] at sa isang araw [ay may] 20 [boats], [may] P1000 [agad] siya may kasama pang saging o alak. Nakaupo ka doon, may extra na bigay sa’yo diumano tapos may sweldo ka rin,” she added.

(If [the grease money] is 50 pesos and in one day [there are] 20 [boats], [he instantly has] P1000 along with bananas or liquor. You’re sitting there with extra money allegedly given to you and have a salary.)

Poe consequently called on the PCG to strengthen its protocols in informal ports.

“Ganun lang ba presyo ng buhay para ipikit mo ang mata mo? 50 pesos o 1,000 pesos? Ang sakit naman ‘yun kung ikaw ang nawalan ng mahal sa buhay,” she stressed.

(Is that just the price of life to shut your eyes? P50 or P1,000? That’s so painful if you’re the one who lost a loved one.)

In the same hearing, the PCG admitted clear lapses on the part of their personnel.

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M/B Princess Aya capsized on July 27 as Typhoon Egay (international name: Doksuri) induced the southwest monsoon and triggered heavy rains in many parts of Luzon, including the Calabarzon region, where Laguna and Rizal provinces belong.

READ: Laguna de Bay deaths not part of typhoon toll – OCD

TAGS: PCG, Probe, Senate

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