Iloilo Coast Guard Now Enforcing Life Jacket Regulations

The Iloilo Coast Guard is now enforcing life jacket regulations and making sure passengers boarding any pump boat at Parola Wharf in Iloilo are wearing them. Nine people lost their lives aboard the Tawash this past Sunday afternoon when their motorized banca boat, battered by high winds and waves, capsized only minutes after taking off from Parola.

passengers waiting for pump boat ticket parola dock iloilo

My wife and I went to Iloilo City this past Wednesday to do our monthly grocery shopping at SM City and to buy a new stainless steel, 2000 liter, water tank. When we boarded the Gebross Uno, seen below at Parola, not one single crew member or Coast Guard officer, demanded that any passenger wear their life jackets.

Nine people had just lost their lives a few days earlier but still no enforcement of the rule!

At Parola Dock, however, that afternoon, where ticket sales for the pump boat ride back to Guimaras were brisk, as seen in the photo above, the Coast Guard officer on duty was enforcing the life jacket regulation.

gebross uno pump boat

But I was wondering why no one on the Gebross Uno were still not wearing a life jacket.  I ratted out the Gebross to the Coast Guard officer seen below and informed him that the crew of the pump boat did not make anyone wear a life jacket when it left Jordan Wharf in Guimaras that morning.

ticket taker and coat guard at parola iloilo

The Coast Guard official noted my concern and advised me that the passengers on the Gebross would be wearing their life jackets before they left the port. The lady taking tickets for the boat, seen above, was becoming annoyed with me and advised me that the capsizing of the Tawash “was just an accident.”

“But if they had been wearing their life jackets,” I loudly replied, “they probably would still be alive today.”

She said nothing.

passengers were wearing life jackets at parola iloilo

All the passengers on the Messiah were wearing their life jackets at Parola that afternoon.

motorized banca boat at parola dock iloilo

All the passengers leaving Parola Dock in Iloilo that afternoon aboard the Kevin Lee were also wearing their life jackets. In the close-up shot below, you can see one of the passengers actually waving at me and the lady next to her was wearing a big smile on her face. In the States, everyone on board would have probably been giving me the middle-finger salute.

the kevin lee at parola dock iloilo

coast guard iloilo and the kano

Coast Guard Officer Guray with “The Kano.” When I commended the man for the work he was doing he replied: “I am only doing my job, sir.”

coast guard parola

In the meantime, while I was taking pictures, my asawa, seen above,  along with the ticket taker for the Gebross Uno, was becoming annoyed with me, also.

“DAVID!” she bellowed out to me. “Watch our stuff! I have to get the driver with our water tank over here!”

We were hiring a boat for a “special trip” to haul our new tank back to Guimaras. I was gone faster than a Twinkie at a Weight Watchers meeting and stood guard over our groceries.

My wife was concerned that I was causing a disturbance. She continually worries about me and always thinks someone is going to stab me in the gut if I cause a scene.

We took off for Jordan Wharf in Guimaras without me getting stabbed. I wore my life jacket.

I have since heard from other expats on our island that the pump boat passengers leaving Guimaras are now being required to wear their life jackets. How long that will last is anyone’s guess. Maybe the pump boat operators should consider a comment left by “Jim” and actually build a “properly designed boat.” Sounds like a good idea to me.

12 comments

  1. Dave,
    I like how you speak your mind and tell it how it is, whether anyone gets upset or not. That’s a trait you don’t see much in Filipinos, not confrontational, but Anne will always say what she thinks no matter the situation.

    1. I probably speak my mind too much, Papa Duck, but at my advanced age, I don’t see any reason to change now. 🙂

      Papa D, on your upcoming visit be sure to pack some swimming trunks. We have a full itinerary planned for you guys. 😎

  2. Hi Dave, yes it can be very frustrating living in the Philippines sometimes in all the
    Different situations that arise, I see it all the time on the roads in Manila just a lack
    Of common sense, i seen a motorcycle accident last week the driver was laid in the
    Middle of the road dead no crash helmet on, I have to tell myself this is the Philippines
    Laws are just ignored or like that women told you accidents happen they won’t listen
    When you said they should have been wearing life jackets, I don’t think anything will
    Change pretty soon that’s the sad part of it , Derek in pasig.

    1. My wife’s cousin Edgar came to visit us a view years ago one Sunday, Derek. He was wearing his helmet. The next day we got word he died at our local provincial hospital in Guimaras after getting into a motorcycle accident. He didn’t wear his helmet that day.

      As DaveW pointed out, “people can ever be forced to do what’s good for them.” And that’s true, no matter what country you live in I suppose.

  3. I was just watching a Manggahan festival video where there was a booth that was all about the pump-boat safety. Why they wouldnt make people wear the vest on such a windy day ?

  4. I would bet it is short lived on inforcing the life jackets. I can’t count the number of ferry accidents that they have had in the philippines but overtime it seems that they all forget. as for me if I’m on a ferry I will make sure I have a life jacket.

  5. Cant share your concern with having all passengers wearing life jackets Dave, The trapels are the most dangerous part of the pumpboat creating a very confined space where people are trapped inside.

    In fact Transport Canada recomends life jackets NOT be worn in enclosed parts of boats in that they restrict ability to egress the boat.

    Trying to get out of a pumpboat wearing a life jacket? Not for me thanks…

    1. Excellent point, Jim. In fact, word has it that some passengers in the ill-fated Tawash were trapped. Transport Canada might be on to something.

      Btw, I have reports that even crew members are now wearing life jackets. I’ve never witnessed that in over six years of living in the Philippines.

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