ILOILO CITY— The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA-6) in Western Visayas is giving the remaining wooden-hulled boats to operate in the waters separating the island province of Guimaras from Iloilo City until December 31.’
MARINA-6 granted the request of the Jordan Motorbanca Cooperative (JMBC) to extend the Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) for wooden-hulled boats traversing the route between Jordan town, Guimaras, and Iloilo City.
The CPC of JMBC expired last September 28, the day that modernized boats started ferrying passengers between the town of Buenavista and Iloilo City.
According to MARINA-6 Director Jose Venancio Vero Jr., the extension of JMBC’s CPC was approved immediately as the procurement of fiber-glass vessels was delayed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The halt in operations of the motor bancas plying the route of Jordan-Iloilo and vice versa will result in disruption of economic activities in the Province of Guimaras and will have adverse effects on the livelihood of the ship owners and crew,” the MARINA-6 said in its decision.
The government has long been calling for the scrapping of the wooden-hulled boats but it was only prioritized after the August 3, 2019 sea tragedy where 31 people died when three passenger boats capsized along the Iloilo Strait after encountering a pugada (squall), a sudden emergence of strong winds and waves.