By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed hope the resumption of motorboats operations in Ilolilo Strait would signal the start of government listening more to the concerns of the people.
Robredo, who met with the affected passengers on Monday during her visit in Guimaras, conveyed to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade how grateful she was after the lifting of the suspension of the boat trips.
“Umaasa tayong simula ito ng pagiging mas bukas ng pamahalaan sa pagkonsulta sa ating mga kababayan sa paggawa ng mga hakbang na mas makapagpapabuti at makapagpapagaan ng kanilang pamumuhay,” she said.
(I’m hoping the government will be more open to consulting our countrymen in taking steps to uplift and improve their lives.)
As a sign of gratitude, the Vice President, herself, thanked Tugade for acting on the complaints of the people plying the Guimaras-Iloilo route.
The operations of motorboats, which ferry passengers for a 15-minute boat ride from Guimaras to Iloilo and vice versa, were suspended by maritime agencies due to the boat-sinking incidents on August 3 that left 31 individuals dead.
Passengers had to endure the lines so they could get aboard roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) vessels that were the only ones allowed to transport them following the sea tragedy.
The Vice President called on the government to lift the ban on the boat trips after the people of Iloilo and Guimaras complained to her about its negative impact to their daily lives.
Her appeal did not fall on deaf ears.
“Kasunod ng ating panawagan, nagagalak tayong malaman na tinanggal na ang suspensyon sa mga nasabing byahe. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa Kagawaran ng Transportasyon, sa pangunguna ni Sec. Art Tugade, sa kanilang pakikinig sa hinaing ng taumbayan,” she said.
(After our appeal, we are happy to know the suspension on the trips has been lifted. We thank the Department of Transportation headed by Sec. Art Tugade for listening to the complaints of the people.)
The Office of the Vice President continues to consult with the survivors and victims’ families in the sea tragedy to determine other ways to help in their needs.
“Nananatiling bukas ang ating tanggapan sa pag-alalay sa ating mga kapatid sa Iloilo at Guimaras sa kanilang patuloy na pagbangon,” she said.
(Our office remains open to assist our brothers and sisters in Iloilo and Guimaras in their recovery.)