Monday, July 07, 2008

Congressional Hearings on the M/V Princess of the Stars Should Focus on Producing Legislation or Acting on Pending Bills Pertaining to Maritime Industry

With the start of the hearings of the House Committees on Transportation and Oversight on the tragedy that befell the M/V Princess of the Stars, Muntinlupa City Congressman Ruffy Biazon urged the two committees to focus on legislation that will address any fault in the system in order to prevent lapses and plug loopholes in existing laws.

While the two committees through the leadership of Speaker Nograles should be commended for their prompt action, they should be reminded that the duty of finding fault and liability with regard to the accident primarily rests on the Board of Marine Inquiry”, said Biazon. “The committees may make recommendations but our primary objective should be to come up with legislation that will provide the legal environment to adequately enforce safety and pursue those who are liable for accidents”, he added.

Biazon, vice-chair of the Committee on Defense and Appropriations, also urged Congress to act on pending legislation that pertain to the Transport and Maritime Industry, especially that the ongoing discussions on recent sea tragedy provides the momentum to tackle relevant pending legislation.

The congressman was referring to bills that he filed in the House of Representatives, namely, House Bill No. 76, which seeks to “Ordain and Institute the Maritime Code of the Philippines”, H.B. 77, proposing to create a National Transportation Safety Board, H.B. 78, which seeks to increase penalties for polluters of the marine environment, and H.B. 87, entitled “ An Act Consolidating Admiralty and Maritime Laws to Modernize the Maritime Industry, Promote and Regulate Merchant Marine Activities, Rationalize the Organization and Functions of Government Agencies Related to Admiralty and Maritime Matters and Insure the Protection of the Marine Wealth in the Philippine Territory”.

Most of these bills have been pending since I filed them last year”, Congressman Biazon revealed.

Even the passage of the Coast Guard bill now has an urgency due to this disaster”, he added.

The third term congressman hopes that the numerous lives lost in the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars will not be in vain. “Even before I became a member of the House of Representatives, I had participated in inquiries on sea tragedies as a member of the technical staff of a senator. It is sad that until this day, I am on my last term as congressman, these kinds of tragedies repeat themselves, obviously because we have not learned from previous lessons. I hope that with the inquiry of the committees of the 14th Congress, we will at lease diminish, if not totally eradicate, these mishaps”, Biazon concluded.

7 comments:

Carlo Ople said...

I agree with you 100% Mr. Congressman :) I'm a bit surprised you're blogging though! I hope you keep it up and constantly update it as the days go by. Cheers!

Karl M. Garcia said...

Has this senate bill of your dad has a counterpart in the congress?

Biazon filed Senate Bill No. 2417 which seeks to create the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - an independent body and non-regulatory agency that would ensure thorough and impartial investigations of transportation accidents.

me tanong ako na maari lang ikaw makasagot kahit sa senate ito:

How can Senator Escudero's coast guard bill be reconciled with your dad's coat guard bill.where your dad wants the coast guard to be under the DND and escudero(maybe the rest) wants it to be under the DOTC.

dad's: SB 186


AN ACT TRANSFERRING THE PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD TO THE DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AS A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT SERVICE UNDER THE PHILIPPINE NAVY, FURTHER AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 5173, AS AMENDED, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

escudero: sb 1238

AN ACT REORGANIZING THE PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD AS A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT COMMISSIONED SERVICE UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

lastly if trillanes can't legislate , can he still file? ano ang mangyayari sa bill na ito:

14th Congress
Senate Bill No. 1944

DEPARTMENT OF MARITIME AFFAIRS ACT
Filed on December 7, 2007 by Trillanes IV, Antonio “Sonny” F.



Please reply, when you have the time.

Karl M. Garcia said...

On that hearing i heard a proposal for a creation of a supoerbody to say that there are no classes,no ship or airplane travel;

I understand the ndcc is just a coordinating body, can expanding its role beyond coordination be oversimplifying things?

Ruffy Biazon said...

karl m. garcia said :

On that hearing i heard a proposal for a creation of a supoerbody to say that there are no classes,no ship or airplane travel;

I understand the ndcc is just a coordinating body, can expanding its role beyond coordination be oversimplifying things?



Yes, such an idea was forwarded during the hearing.

I'm not too hot about the idea of a creating a new superbody for that purpose. The ATO can do that for air transport. The PCG just has to be empowered. Let the NDCC remain to be the top coordinating body, with the necessary powers.

With regard to classes, I think it's best to let the LGU decide.

Ruffy Biazon said...

karl m. garcia said:

Has this senate bill of your dad has a counterpart in the congress?

Biazon filed Senate Bill No. 2417 which seeks to create the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) - an independent body and non-regulatory agency that would ensure thorough and impartial investigations of transportation accidents.


Yes, I filed HB 77. Ironically, it's been pending since July 2007 (there hasn't been even one hearing on it) in the committee that's investigating the MV Princess of the Stars tragedy. That's why on the day of the hearing, I issued a statement urging the committee to focus on the legislation which the inquiry could produce. During the hearing, I mentioned that there are bills currently pending that we just need to act on.

During the hearing, once congressman berated the Coast Guard, "Why are you acting only when people are killed?". I was a bit ashamed for the institution with that remark.

Because nine years ago, the Board of Marine Inquiry which investigated the sinking of MV Princess of the Orient (another Sulpicio Lines vessel), the Board recommended in its final report the creation of a Transportation Safety Board-Maritime Division to replace the BMI itself.

The last statement of that report said that many of their recommendations need to be acted upon immediately by COngress...if not, we can be sure that such tragedies will be repeated in the future.

Well, it seems the BMI was prophetic...the proposals were unacted upon and nine years later, another Sulpicio Lines ship sinks.


How can Senator Escudero's coast guard bill be reconciled with your dad's coat guard bill.where your dad wants the coast guard to be under the DND and escudero(maybe the rest) wants it to be under the DOTC.

Well, one has to give in. My version of the bill establishes the PCG under DOTC. I guess I would have to invoke my privilege as a son for the father to give in. he he!

lastly if trillanes can't legislate , can he still file? ano ang mangyayari sa bill na ito:

14th Congress
Senate Bill No. 1944

DEPARTMENT OF MARITIME AFFAIRS ACT
Filed on December 7, 2007 by Trillanes IV, Antonio “Sonny” F.


Sen. Trillanes can still file the bill. It would just be unfortunate that he wouldn't be able to defend it himself.

With regard to the bill, it would depend now on the committee chair to act on it.

We filed that bill before, but the creation of a new department is really difficult. The cost involved in establishing a new department will have difficulty finding space in an already tight budget.

There are other bills filed that would address the needs of the maritime industry, such as the codification of maritime laws (HB 76), rationalization of all maritime and admiralty agencies and creation of admiralty courts (HB 87), establsihment of a maritime and ocean affairs center under DOTC (HB 73)and of course, the PCG and NTSB bills. I filed those in the House of Representatives.

Karl M. Garcia said...

Thank you very much,Congressman Biazon!

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