FIRST RESPONDERS: Guimaras motor banca crews to train as frontline rescuers

PUMP boat crewmembers Francis Ivan Tres (left) and Karl Ace Gencianeo (right) were among the first to respond and rescue passengers in the Iloilo Strait mishap last Aug 3, 2019. In fact, they arrived at the scene ahead of the Coast Guard. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE local government of Guimaras will capacitate crew members of motor bancas to serve as first line responders in times of sea emergencies.

The suggestion was raised in the legislative inquiry conducted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Guimaras on Wednesday to shed light into the Iloilo Strait tragedy last August 3, 2019 which claimed 31 lives.

The inquiry also aims to come up with laws that will prevent sea mishaps in the future.

According to Vice Governor John Edward Gando, they have observed from the testimonies of the survivors that crew members of motor boats were the first responders in the sea mishaps, way ahead of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel.

“I-capacitate gid naton ang aton mga pump boat crew kay kon may emerhensya, diri namon natalupangdan nga sila gid gali una nga maka responder, base man sa testimonya kaina sang mga survivors,” he said.

Gando said they will tap experts to conduct relative trainings and workshops for pump boat crewmembers in Guimaras.

Tagaan sila sang nagaka-igo nga mga seminar trainings, mangita kami sang mga resource persons nga mga experts on handling this kind of emergencies,” he stressed.



Nineteen-year-old, Karl Ace Gencianeo, a pump boat crew member, said in an interview with Daily Guardian that they just docked on Jordan Wharf to buy food when they were informed that MB Jenny Vince capsized at the Iloilo Strait.

He said they immediately rushed to their motor banca to rescue the passengers. The PCG arrived moments later.

Naghingagaw ko lukso kag nagbulig panguha sa mga pasehero. Ginkuha ko ang wasay kag ginpabuka namon ang hull sang pump boat kay damo pa ang natabunan,” he shared.


When asked if he was scared, Gencianeo answered, “Mas nakulbaan kami nga damo pa gid mapatay sa sulod to. Ara pa lang kami sa pump boat bati-on na ang silinggitan sang mga tawo. Indi ko kapamugong nga indi ka malukso kay alang-alang lantawon mo lang to kay damo naman gapangayo bulig,” he said.


Another motor boat crewmember who responded to the tragedy was 20-year-old Francis Ivan Tres.

Nakabulig ko pangluwas sa MB Chi-Chi kag Jenny Vince, naka-rescue kami tatlo ka survivors,” he said.

Tres said he never had second thoughts of helping during the rescue since he lost his cousin on a separate capsizing incident in Guimaras, two years ago.

Gencianeo and Tres, were among the around 500 boatmen plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route in Jordan and Buenavista, according to Gando.