Amid the recent maritime tragedy off the shores of Corcuera, Romblon, where a 55-year-old woman tragically lost her life, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go is demanding accountability and pushing for a modernization program to strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The incident occurred on August 5 after passenger vessel MB King Sto. Niño 7 became half-submerged near Corcuera. According to the PCG, one of the passengers managed to contact the local PCG station to report the situation.
“Unang-una, managot po ang dapat managot dito at sino talaga ang may kasalanan. Tuwing may lumulubog, tuwing may disaster na nangyayari, sisihan ang nangyayari,” Go said in an interview on August 7, after distributing assistance to tricycle drivers in Pasay City.
Go also emphasized the importance of strengthening the capabilities of the PCG to better safeguard maritime welfare and security.
“Kung kailangan pa nating mas palakasin ang Philippine Coast Guard upang mas magampanan nila nang buong husay ang kanilang tungkulin, (gawin po natin),” he said.
In line with this, Go has filed Senate Bill No. 2112, or the PCG Modernization Bill, which is scheduled for hearing the following day.
“Our Coast Guard serves as the frontline defense against threats like smuggling, terrorism. Malaki po ang kanilang trabaho. Additionally, they provide invaluable assistance during natural disasters and emergencies,” Go said.
The proposed bill seeks to upgrade PCG’s assets and resources, to enable the service to carry out its duties and responsibilities more effectively. Its main goal is to upgrade the coast guard’s vessels, aircraft, and equipment to meet international standards.
Such improvements are expected to significantly enhance response time during maritime incidents and emergencies.
“At dito po sa nangyari sa paglubog, ay dapat makasuhan po ang may kasalanan,” Go said.
“Bilang miyembro ng Committee on Public Services, dapat pong may managot dito para ‘wag nang maulit. Paulit-ulit na lang kapag may paglubog dito, puro imbestigasyon. Dapat may makulong,” he added.
Go’s pronouncements come amidst not only the Romblon incident, but also a ferry disaster in Rizal province on July 27, where a boat capsized due to severe winds, resulting in 27 deaths.