Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Transportation and Communications ordered yesterday the Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard to ensure that the policy that bans unregistered or colorum motorized bancas for travel, island-hopping, or sightseeing purposes, is strictly enforced.
This was after an unregistered motorized banca capsized at Lake Mainit, near the province of Agusan del Norte, that resulted in one death recently.
The fatality was identified by police authorities and the PCG as Melocina Mahilom, and the two missing as Anthony Cebrian and Cris Anthony Alipoos, all from the province of Cebu. Twenty-one passengers have been rescued.
Lt. Col. Algier Ricafrente, PCG spokesman, said the banca encountered huge waves that damaged its outrigger and caused it to overturn and sink.
The banca, named Lake Cruiser, owned by the town of Jaboanga in Agusan del Norte, capsized at the vicinity of Brgy. Sibunga, Jaboanga while crossing Lake Mainit, with 24 passengers and four crew members on board.
Nic Conti, deputy administrator of MARINA, meanwhile, said resort owners and boat operators must have the authority to operate and must register their vessels or bancas with MARINA.
All water-going vessels must also be equipped with lifesaving appliances like life jackets and life rings, and must have communication equipment on board. It must also have passenger insurance coverage and must be operated by competent and qualified crew, Conti added.
He also appealed to domestic and foreign tourists to exercise vigilance by ensuring that safety protocol is observed and complied with by the operators before boarding any vessel or banca.
Under MARINA circulars, those operating without the permit will be fined, ranging from P10,000 to P100,000, depending on the size of the vessel. The seaman’s book of the crew involved will likewise be confiscated without prejudice to any criminal prosecution.*
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