Motorcycles are now banned on Guimaras-Iloilo pump boats. Bikers who want to bring their bikes and travel to the island province we call home will either have to board a roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ship or charter pump boats.
“They can charter a pump boat at P500 [$10.60] a trip. Or, they can just leave behind their motorcycles and pick them up upon return,” one boat crew member said. The fee for transporting a motorcycle was 70 pesos, a buck fifty.
Our brother-in-law Joery parks his motorcycle at a lot outside of the Jordan Wharf and rides the pump boat. It only costs seven pesos, 15¢, to ride a jeepney anywhere in Iloilo City Proper. Why in the world someone would want to buzz through the busy, congested streets of Iloilo on a motorcycle breathing in exhaust fumes from jeepneys is beyond my comprehension.
I prefer to suck my diesel fumes in more directly and cram my fat Kano butt inside a jeepney, which I’ve coined as the “cheapney.” But at least I have a better chance of surviving a crash riding a tank-like public utility jeepney, PUJ, then I do a motorcycle in the city.
Ro-Ro’s, owned by FF Cruz, make several trips daily between Iloilo City and Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. It costs 500 pesos for a one-way ticket when we have to bring our Ford Ranger XLT for service at Ford Iloilo via the Ro-Ro.
Passengers, pump boat crew members, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) welcomed the ban on loading motorcycle on pump boats per order from the Maritime Industry Administration (MARINA.)
PCG officials particularly approved of the ban because a motorcycle can overload a pump boat when it reaches full passenger capacity, usually 40 to 50 persons. No doubt the tragic loss of nine lives on the capsizing of the Tawash contributed to this recent ban.
Passengers also approved of the idea as motorcycles at the boat’s prow block their movement when embarking and disembarking. The motorcycles did indeed, make navigating your way on or off a boat extremely difficult and potentially dangerous, especially if you’re an old geezer expat like myself.
Most of the time the banca boat crew would stack the motorcycles on to one side of the boat after you’ve already boarded it. Invariably, as I had a gift for picking the slowest check-out lane back in the States, I would end up on the side of the vessel with the bikes. I would then thread my way past the bikes and then try to maneuver the extremely narrow steps on either Ortiz or Parola Dock in Iloilo.
The narrow free space between the motorcycle and the pump boat body also poses risk of a person falling overboard, especially children and elderly passengers.
A crew member said they could be held liable if an accident happens because of the presence of motorcycles onboard the boat.
But members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Guimaras chapter will challenge the latest ruling of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) that disallows motorcycles from boarding passenger motorized boats.
Yes, the same group that is contesting the Marina’s ruling on the wearing of life jackets on pump boats from Guimaras to Iloilo, because some lawyers were complaining of getting their clothes wrinkled, is also challenging the motorcycle ban.
Guimaras vice governor Vicente de Asis, an IBP member, said they would contest the ban by filing a Declaratory Relief in court.
He said they have grounds for legal action.
De Asis called the order “unfair and unjust, and is an infringement on the rights of Guimaras citizens.”
For over 50 years, it had been the practice of motorcycle owners to bring with them their motor bikes as they boarded boats, he said.
De Asis stated that the ban would not only violate motorcyclists’ constitutional rights but will cost them additional fare expenses as Marina now strictly requires motorcycles to ride in a cargo boat plying the same route which is Iloilo-Guimaras, and vice-versa.
Since the Honorable Vice Governor is a lawyer and much more well-versed on Philippine Constitutional Law than I am, I will defer to him on motorcyclist’s constitutional rights. And I’ll keep riding the jeepney.
(Sources: The Daily Guardian & Panay News)