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imns



Poverty, greed: causes of sea tragedies


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:31:00 12/30/2008

Filed Under: Maritime Accidents

Last Dec. 14 another ferry tragedy struck us. This time it was in my hometown of Aparri. I don?t mean to get ahead of the findings of the marine investigators, but I?m sure they will say that this latest disaster was due to bad weather. This is an old tune. It sounds awful and it does not sell anymore.

This ferry tragedy in Aparri adds to the number of maritime accidents in the Philippines that have cost thousands of lives. Last June, MV Princess of the Stars sank near Romblon. On Dec. 20, 1987, MV Doa Paz en route to Manila from Tacloban City sank after it collided with an oil tanker. On Oct. 24, 1988, MV Doa Marilyn sank during a typhoon. On Dec. 2, 1994, MV Cebu City sank in Manila Bay. On Dec. 13, 1995, MV Kimelody Cristy sank off Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas. On Sept. 20, 1998, MV Princess of the Orient sank on its way to Cebu from Manila. MV Asia South Korea sank off Bantayan Island in Cebu on Dec. 23, 1999. MV Annahada sank off Sulu province on April 12, 2000.

These are just but a few of the worst maritime disasters in the country. Why do these sea tragedies occur despite supposedly strict maritime regulations? Why do Philippine ferries continue to sink and claim many lives?

It is because of poverty and greed. Poor people from our island towns and communities ?squeeze? themselves into ferry boats because they don?t have any other choice. The ship captain and the owner turn a blind eye to overloaded passenger boats because of greed. Concerned government officials tolerate violations of maritime regulations and safety rules in consideration of some bribe.

Sea tragedies will happen again and again for as long as government officials and unscrupulous people are blinded by their greed and refuse to learn the bitter lessons of these disasters.

REGINALD B. TAMAYO, member, Sangguniang Bayan, Aparri, Cagayan



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