Guimaras awaits official word on use of pump boat ‘trapal’

Pump boat passengers from and to Guimaras can heave a sigh of relief after transportation authorities allowed the use of tarpaulin to shield them from the elements when travelling at sea. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

RELIEF is forthcoming for passengers of motor bancas plying Iloilo to Guimaras and vice versa line after the provincial government received information that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has approved the use of canvass or tarpaulins on passenger boats.

Guimaras Vice Governor John Edward Gando confirmed on Friday that Guimaras Governor Samuel  Gumarin and Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava received a text message from Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Narciso Vingson Jr. informing them that DOTr will again allow the use of tarpaulins and canvass in motor bancas.

“We received an advance information kagab-e through text ni Administrator Vingson nga gin-send niya kay Governor and Congresswoman nga gintugutan ni DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade ang paggamit sang canvass with specifications,” he said.

The new set of specifications that served as preconditions for the approval of the use of canvass or tarpaulin are:

  1. Height of tarpaulin or canvass – 1.8 meter
  2. Length- 50 percent of the length of the motor boat
  3. Width- 80 percent of the width of the boat
  4. Angle of deflection-not more than 15 degrees from the horizontal line

Apart from MARINA Regional Office 6, Gando said that they are still waiting for the formal advisory from MARINA Central Office.

“From that information, we are still waiting for a memorandum or an advisory from the MARINA,” he said.

MARINA implemented strict protocols on motor bancas plying Iloilo to Jordan and Buenavista, Guimaras and vice versa after the Iloilo Strait tragedy last August 3, 2019 which claimed 31 lives.


Boat trips were subjected to a set of conditions such as removal or rolling up of tarpaulins/canvass covers; motor bancas shall carry passengers up to 75 percent of their authorized capacity only; motor banca operations are limited only to fair weather conditions; and boat trips are only allowed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The canvass or tarp covers were being blamed for trapping the fatalities when three pump boats capsized two months ago.

The protocol on tarpaulins/canvass got flak from passengers and other groups because of the extreme heat and rain the passengers had to endure during boat trips.

The public also blamed the protocols for the continuous slump of the tourism industry in Guimaras.

This prompted MARINA-6 to propose to its central office a temporary canvass design that will not compromise the safety of the passengers.

Recently, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Guimaras also passed a resolution imploring MARINA Central Office through Vingson to approve the design criteria for the installation of canvass and fixed shed to all motor bancas.

Once the tarpaulin/canvass will be allowed again, Gando said it will be a huge help to the tourists and Guimarasnons who are suffering from the daily commute in motor bancas.

Children and the elderly riding the motor boats will finally experience comfort, Gando added.

“Una-una byahero naton nga mga Guimarasnons and turista nga luyag sa pumpboat indi na magsuffer. Ikaduha, ang aton nga masakiton, mga katigulangan, galagmay nga kabataan indi naman ma-initan kag mapahagan-hagan ang perwisyo,” he said.