‘WE ARE DOING OUR BEST’: PCG appeals for public’s understanding

(Photo By DG file/ Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Iloilo appealed to the public to be more understanding amid the clamors of passengers following the new protocols that were set since the operations of motor bancas plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route resumed last week.

The suspension of operation of motor banca trips has been temporary lifted last week but the motor bancas were subjected to a set of conditions.

The conditions set are the following: all tarpaulin/canvass in motor bancas must be rolled up or removed; motorboats will only be allowed to carry up to 75 percent of its authorized capacity; passengers should wear life jackets at all times throughout the voyage; the navigation trip will strictly be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. only; the operation of motor bancas shall be during fair weather only; and that the motor bancas shall be equipped with distress signals/equipment.

In particular, the specific protocol that prohibits the use of tarpaulins/canvass of motor boats as roofing was not received well by the public.

Passengers have clamored of the extreme heat and discomfort when riding the motor bancas without the tarpaulin/canvass (used as roofing in motor bancas) especially during daytime.

Acting Station Commander, Coast Guard Station-Iloilo, Capt. Erlinda Benliro appealed for understanding among the riding public on the new protocol.

Instead, Benliro encouraged the public to bring umbrellas or jackets and other protective covering to be more comfortable when riding the motor boats.

“For those riding the motor banca, if mainit pasensya na kamo but if you want pwede man ta kadala jacket, payong, and kalo para di mainitan,” she said.

Another option for the riding public is to opt for the passenger vessels of Atlantis Yohan Express Corp. (AYEC) which just arrived in the city this weekend, Benliro said.

“They could ride Yohan. If they complain about mainit, that is our option and it is even safer for the Guimarasnons to ride other than motor banca. Now that the two vessels are available now, and the other one is coming, we are giving the riding community an option to ride a more convenient transport,” she stressed.

Two additional passenger vessels of AYEC already started plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route on Saturday and Sunday.

MV Yohan Green, with 170 gross tonnage and a total capacity of 270 passengers, started its operation on Saturday from Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras.

The trip can last for about 10 to 15 minutes for a P50 promo fare. By next week, the price is expected to adjust at P70 for aircon and P50 for economy.

On Sunday, another vessel, MV Yohan Cruiser with a total capacity of 300 passengers also started its operations from Fort San Pedro, Iloilo City to Buenavista Wharf, Guimaras.

The two vessels are equipped with wifi in addition to its air-conditioned spaces; passengers may also choose to ride the economy, tourist, and business classes.

The first scheduled trip of MV Yohan Green is at 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. while MV Yohan Cruiser starts at 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Amid all the complaints of the public, Benliro said that they are doing their best in PCG to ensure that the riding public will be safe in all of their trips.

“Every little thing we do, you complain, but we are trying our best. We will try to find solution for their comfort but we could not give all, yung kaya lang natin and kung tani more patience, and more understanding on also our own duties and responsibilities. Although we cannot provide everything but we will definitely do our duties and responsibilities to make all passengers safe,” she noted.