By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lawmakers are seeking a congressional probe on the circumstances surrounding the death of seven members of the Boracay Dragon Force Team, when their boat capsized off the island of Boracay on September 25 during training.
Aklan Rep. Carlito Marquez and Probinsyano Ako partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr. filed House Resolutions No. 385 and 397, respectively to look into the tragedy that befell the Boracay Dragon Force Team during their training in Boracay on September 25.
“A report released by the Office of the Municipal Mayor of Malay said all the victims were not wearing life vests at the time of the accident and that one of the victims does not know how to swim,” Marquez said.
“Capt. Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesperson, confirmed that no one from the team wore life vest, clarifying that dragon boat training is not covered by the agency’s regulation on wearing life vests, ” he noted.
The seven victims, including three women were training for the 2019 Kaohsiung City Cup international dragon boat championship on November 8 to 10, 2019 in Taiwan.
“Considering that this is not the first time an incident involving waters sports have happened which resulted to death or incapacitation of our athletes, it is imperative that an investigation on the incident be conducted in order to come up with potential legislation aimed at prividing safety regulation for athletes involved in extreme water sports, ” Singson, for his part, said.
Citing reports, he said the members of the Boracay Dragon Force Team were practicing off Sitio Lingganay in Barangay Manoc-Manoc when their boat was hit by strong waves, causing it to tip over.
While taking note that the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) encouraged the use of personal floatation devices during training, Marquez cited the “need to educate the member clubs proper safety protocols in case of capsizing or sinking of boats.”
“Initial reports said that the dragon boat team planned to return to the beach front after their training when a giant wave hit them,” he said.
Vince Natividad, Rachel Montoya, Rose Antonete Supranes, Johan Tan and Maricel Tan were among those identified as fatalities in the boat accident, while 14 individuals survived, Marquez noted.
The survivors included the team’s founder Von Navarosa; Mark Baccay, Jaylord Violanda, Edwin Paradai, Marc Sabado Kenneth Bandalan, Jao Buenaventura. Robel Licerio, Kathleen Sabado, Julia Kurbantozova, Maggie Xie, Yhen Aytona, Lanie Ordas, and Janice Lumbo.