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Buenavista mayor vows to give priority to displaced vessel crews

Buenavista mayor vows to give priority to displaced vessel crews
Ruby P. Silubrico - May 22, 2021

BUENAVISTA, Guimaras – Displaced crews of old, wooden-hulled motorboats will be the utmost priority for hiring to work in fiberglass boats as more of these new vessels are expected to arrive in Guimaras this month.

This assurance came from Mayor Eugencio Reyes who said another two vessels of M/B Yuhan and another vessel from Cebu will reach the island this May to ferry more passengers from Buenavista town to Iloilo City and back.

According to the official, some of the 150 to 200 displaced workers were already hired to work in the fiberglass boats.

“We promised the displaced crews that they are the priority for hiring. Gamay lang anay nga pag-antos. Madamo pa ang magabyahi diri so they need not to worry. Makabalik na sila liwat sa sakayan,” the mayor said, adding that the local government has provided financial and livelihood aid.

Some government agencies were tapped for more assistance, especially the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) TUPAD program through the help of Guimaras’s Rep. Lucille Nava.

TUPAD is an emergency employment program for displaced or disadvantaged informal sector workers.

TUPAD beneficiaries are employed temporarily and it runs between 10 days to 30 days. They are paid under the prevailing daily minimum wage in their respective areas.

As of now, the Buenavista town has seven boats, five of which are fiberglass and two are modernized steel boats. These are owned by the Buenavista Motorbanca Owners and Sailors Association, Incorporated (BAMOSA).

Wooden-hulled boats were abolished by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) following the Aug. 3, 2019 sea tragedy – three motorboats capsized, killing 31 people. Since then, bigger boats and fiberglass vessels were introduced for a safer voyage.

The boats, however, can only accommodate up to 50 percent of their total capacity. Strict health protocols are being observed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.

“We are strict in implementing health protocols. We appeal to the public to follow the protocols, especially the wearing of facemasks, face shields, and social distancing,” said Reyes.

For Guimaras’ Gov. Samuel Gumarin, this is a new era for the island province. He vowed to complete the modernization of Guimaras’ sea transport.

“Ginsuguran naton ini kag amat-amaton naton matapos para sa future sang probinsiya sang Guimaras,” the governor said./PN