News Flash

August 28, 2015, Friday
  • Some INC members blocked the convoy of Justice Sec. Leila de Lima as she was leaving the DOJ before 5 pm Thursday. 11 hours ago |
  • Expelled INC minister Samson’s camp says INC’s rally wants to force gov’t to favor INC leaders facing illegal detention & other charges. 12 hours ago |
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  • Police exercise maximum tolerance as hundreds of INC members hold protest in front of DOJ. 12 hours ago |
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  • Hundreds of Iglesia ni Cristo members hold protest in front of Department of Justice along Padre Faura St. in Manila. 12 hours ago |
  • Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon warns a cut in the capital outlays of state universities & colleges could result in tuition hikes. 19 hours ago |
  • House approves on third reading the LPG Industry Regulation and Safety Act. 19 hours ago |
  • Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima and Customs Chief Bert Lina invited to attend the Senate probe on balikbayan boxes next week. 19 hours ago |
  • Senate probe on BOC’s random inspection of balikbayan boxes to begin next week. 19 hours ago |
  • Migrante International calls on OFWs to support ‘no remittance day’ on Friday. 19 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquno expected to visit and greet Justice Sec. De Lima at DOJ on her 56th birthday. 19 hours ago |
  • Taft Avenue & Padre Faura St. in Manila temporarily closed on Wednesday a.m. due to a protest rally staged by group ‘Bayan’ in front of DOJ. 19 hours ago |
  • Some U.P. Diliman students staged a walkout from their classrooms to protest tuition hikes in state colleges and universities. 19 hours ago |
  • Henry Sy is still number one in Forbes’ list of richest Filipinos. 19 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon says the Senate sub-committee’s probe on allegations vs. Binays is delayed by Gerry Limlingan & Ebeng Baloloy’s absence. 19 hours ago |
  • DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson says sorry for the heavy traffic and frequent floods in Metro Manila. 19 hours ago |
  • DPWH Sec. Singson says it is not easy to implement the comprehensive flood control project in Metro Manila. 20 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino emphasizes the need for a comprehensive flood management plan. 20 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino cites the presence of too many new cars and new motorcycles on the road as factors that aggravate the heavy traffic situation. 20 hours ago |
  • Light to moderate rains expected in some areas in Northern and Central Luzon. 20 hours ago |
  • PAGASA says the release of water by 3 dams in Luzon won’t result in floods as no heavy rains are expected on Wednesday. 20 hours ago |
  • Binga and Ambuklao dams in Benguet and San Roque dam in Pangasinan release water. 20 hours ago |
  • Justice Sec. Leila de Lima says she won’t react to issues on Wednesday as she celebrates her 56th birthday. 20 hours ago |
  • NEDA says the Philippine economy grew by 5.6% during the second quarter of 2015. 20 hours ago |
  • Makati Rep. Binay says Sen. Antonio Trillanes should use his 55 consultants to help him get his facts right. 20 hours ago |
  • Makati Rep. Abigail Binay dares the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee to invite her to its hearings. 20 hours ago |
  • Sen. Drilon defends the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee’s continuous probe on alleged anomalies linked to Binays. 20 hours ago |
  • Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada offers flowers at Quirino Grandstand for 8 HK tourists who were killed in a bungled hostage crisis 5 years ago. 21 hours ago |

Killer on the loose

By MST News | Aug. 19, 2013 at 12:01am
2013_aug19_editorialTHERE is a killer on the loose, and we have done nothing about it.

Since 1987, Sulpicio Lines—renamed Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. in 2009—has figured in maritime disasters that have claimed more than 5,000 lives.

In the latest incident, the company’s cargo vessel, the MV Sulpicio Express 7, collided with the MV St. Thomas Aquinas with 700 people on board, sinking the ferry in the waters off Talisay City, Cebu, Friday night. At least 31 people were killed, and 171 were still missing over the weekend. The accident was the fifth for a company that has somehow managed to avoid closure in the last 25 years, despite its dismal track record.

In December 1987, the company’s ferry, the MV Doña Paz, sank in the shark-infested waters of the Tablas Strait, after colliding with a cargo ship, the MT Vector. The estimated death toll of 4,375 far surpassed the 1,500 killed on the Titanic, and made the sinking the worst peacetime maritime disaster,

Less than a year later, in October 1988, the Doña Marilyn was caught up in a typhoon and sank, killing 389 of its passengers and crew.

In September 1998, the company’s MV Princess of the Orient, a passenger ferry, sank off Fortune Island, near Batangas province, killing an estimated 150 of its 388 passengers.

In June 2008, Sulpicio’s MV Princess of the Stars capsized off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon, at the height of a typhoon. Only 56 of the 862 on board survived. The rest – including those whose bodies were never found – were presumed dead.

The company’s chief executive and president Jordan Go says his company’s string of accidents had nothing to do with the collision on Friday night, but the statement ignores the importance of a public utility’s track record when determining its fitness for service.

While the Supreme Court eventually ruled that it was the owners of the Vector, which was deemed unseaworthy and manned by negligent crew and officers, that were responsible for the 1987 Doña Paz tragedy, the final judgment did nothing to address findings that the crew of the Doña Paz were ill-prepared to safeguard their passengers. Initial Coast Guard findings, in fact, said only one apprentice member of the crew was monitoring the bridge when the accident occurred, and that other officers were either drinking beer or watching television at the time.

The company’s other three disasters were caused by the vessels setting sail during typhoons.

None of this has a direct bearing on the circumstances of last Friday’s accident, of course, and we must await the results of an official inquiry—which is likely to outlast public outrage--before we can establish fault.

Still, we are stumped by a maritime regulatory system that allows such tragedies to continue, and which administers mere slaps on the wrists of companies that play fast and loose with the lives of Filipino sea-bound travelers.
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