Patient dies as heavy rain swamps motor banca

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

WHILE traffic jams in Metro Manila is costing the lives of patients in ambulances stuck in traffic, heavy rains and the new protocols set by authorities on motor boats plying Iloilo to Jordan and Buenavista, Guimaras routes (vice versa) also resulted in the death of a patient from Guimaras Wednesday morning.

Based on the report of RMN Iloilo, the patient was Simeon Gabinete, a retired police chief of Buenavista Police Station.

Gabinete was previously confined at Guimaras Provincial Hospital in Jordan town but was about to be transferred to another hospital in Iloilo when heavy rains poured down on the motor boat that was carrying him.

The patient was on intravenous treatment onboard the motor boat when he suffered from a cardiac arrest, the RMN report added.

All motor boats plying from Iloilo to Guimaras were made to follow certain protocols issued by Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) after it lifted the suspension of boat trips more than a week after the tragic Iloilo Strait tragedy on Aug 3, 2019.

The conditions are:

all tarpaulins/canvass covers, which shelter the passengers from the heat or rain, of motor boats shall either be rolled-up or removed;

  • motor bancas shall carry passengers up to 75 percent of their authorized capacity only; and
  • boat trips are only allowed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Since the protocols were implemented, passengers have clamored of heat or rain that they had to endure during boat trips.



The provincial government of Guimaras alongside other stakeholders have been trying to do their part in order to ease the suffering of the commuters.

In a phone interview, Vice Governor John Edward Gando on Wednesday revealed that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Guimaras already passed a resolution imploring Marina Central Office thru Vice Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. to approve the design criteria for the installation of canvass and fixed shed to all motor bancas plying from Iloilo to Guimaras and vice versa.

According to Gando, MARINA-6 has proposed a temporary canvass design that will not compromise the safety of the passengers.

“We have been notified that the regional office of Marina 6 naga-propose na sila sang disensyo sang trapal which shall not compromise the safety of passengers so gin-forward sang August 29 but wala maaktuhan sang ila administrator,” he said.

Gando said that the new design will be a fixed tarpaulin/canvass with some clearance or opening so that the passengers will not be trapped in the event that the motor banca will capsize.

Ila design, imbes nagasira, tadlong na lang pero may clearance para ina indi matrap ang pasahero kag true enough nga indi direkta maigo ang init,” he said.

Testimonies of the survivors of the Iloilo Strait tragedy revealed that most of the 31 fatalities were trapped in the two passenger boats that capsized due to a “squall” or sudden gust of wind at sea.

Gando said that the temporary design of canvass would prevent similar incident suffered by Gabinete from happening.

He reiterated that the design is only temporary as they are already arranging for the modernization of all motor bancas in Guimaras.

“This will be temporary kay ang commitment sang pump boats associations to modernize have been affirmed. Within the months may standard and modernized vessel na ang aton association based sa timeline, these are the pains nga aton gina suffer subong could be temporary brought about by restrictions,” he said.

Gando also appealed for understanding for the commuters especially Guimarasnons who are enduring the pain of transportation from Guimaras to Iloilo and vice versa.

“We are doing all our best agud mapahagan hagan ini nga tanan. Hopefully, may alibyo na sa Marina Administrator nga iapprove lang nila anay ang ginapropose nga design nga samtang wala pa kita na modernize may ara lang sang mga canvass,” he said.

He noted that Vingson already assured them that he will act on the resolution passed by the SP.