Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?

life jackets pumpboat guimaras to iloilo e1565312176226 - Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?

I read where Guimaras Governor Gumarin has stated that the recent Iloilo Strait tragedy is bad for our island province’s economy. Thirty-one people lost their lives on Saturday, August 3, 2019. First of all, I think passenger safety comes first. Pump boat, banca boats, motorbancas, motorboats, call them what you want. They’re dangerous. Hence, today’s post: Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?

Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has grounded all the motorboats plying the Iloilo Strait indefinitely.

roro in guimaras
RORO docked in Guimaras

The Life Jacket Issue

In October 2015, nine people lost their lives when the Tawash capsized. On board was my friend, Larry, a crewmember. Larry left behind a wife and five daughters.

For two weeks, the Coast Guard poked around making sure all passengers were using life jackets. However, after two weeks, the wearing of life jackets was no longer required. In four years since the Tawash tragedy, my wife and I have made hundreds of trips between Guimaras and Iloilo City.

In those four years, not one single pump boat crew member has instructed the passengers to don their life jackets.

life jackets not unpacked on guimaras pump boat
Unpacked life jackets

Phasing Out of Old Pump Boats

Furthermore, Commodore Allan Dela Vega, PCG-Western Visayas district commander said it’s time to review the design of the pump boats. Hence, the Coast Guard Commodore said if they’re proven to be vulnerable to the elements, the boats must be phased out.

gebross uno pump boat

Here’s his comment I noted in a previous post:

“In land, we are phasing out old jeepneys. Meanwhile, sea vessels here in Iloilo-Guimaras are still traditional, wooden boats with outriggers. What is it about the design that makes these boats very vulnerable when there are squalls?” Dela Vega said.

Likewise, MARINA, the Maritime Industry Authority, issued a memorandum in 2016 for the phasing out of all wooden-hulled passenger sea vessels. A MARINA engineer wondered why Guimaras has not begun any such modernization in the last three years.

I wonder why, also.

Long Lines at Ocean Jet

However, the banca boat suspension has left sea travelers with long waits this week. My sister-in-law in Guimaras waited four hours to board an Ocean Jet fast craft on Friday, August 9. That’s unacceptable.

The Status Quo is not Good Enough

Frankly, the status quo is not good enough. It’s tragic that it has taken 31 lives lost to talk of any possible change regarding passenger safety.

Breaking The Status Quo Embracing our unique abilities - Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?
graphic credit: salammy.com
FC 728 90 - Ban Iloilo-Guimaras Pump Boats Permanently?

I’ve met Governor Gumarin a couple of times. Nice man. Friendly. Approachable. I have no doubt that he’s concerned with the passenger safety of travelers from Guimaras to Iloilo and vice versa. I’m hopeful he can make some positive changes and resolve this safety issue.

Author: The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 19 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Shepherd called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people in the last two years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.