MANILA — the Department of Transportation (DOTr) assures to uphold fairness and impartiality in the conduct of an internal investigation on the tragic sea incident along the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait.
The DOTr, through the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), has already commenced an inter-agency probe on the mishap.
The investigating body will focus on existing and applied protocols on the suspension of voyages of motorboats. It is expected to make recommendations on the refinement and strengthening of such protocols, as well as on the use of wooden hull motorboats.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has earlier ordered the relief of officials of PCG stations in Iloilo and Guimaras and Marina Western Visayas Regional Office to ensure just and objective results of the investigation.
PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino noted that the administrative relief is an opportunity for concerned officials to properly present their case.
“Pagkakataon ito na komprehensibong marinig ang kanilang panig sa nangyari, kasama na doon sa aspeto ng search and rescue. If their case withstands the rigors of the investigation, the dignity of their names will be restored,” Admiral Hermogino said.
Marina OIC Administrator Narciso Vingson Jr. assured that for the part of the agency, it will exert all efforts to ensure an exhaustive and transparent investigation.
“The relief is merely procedural in investigations such as this. Tinitiyak lang natin na hindi maiimpluwensyahan ang imbestigasyon, at sa halip ay magiging siyento porsyento itong patas. We owe this to the victims and their families,” Vingson stated.
Meanwhile, to address inter-island transport concerns, the DOTr has directed the Marina to fast-track the release of permits for roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) fast craft vessels to service the Iloilo-Guimaras route, while wooden hull motorboat trips remain suspended.
Secretary Tugade, who personally condoled with the victims’ kin on 07 August, has also previously instructed the Marina, PCG, and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to explore possible employment options for qualified family members as a way of assistance.