Press Release
January 13, 2010

Blue ribbon resumes hearing on maritime disasters

The Senate blue ribbon panel will resume on Thursday its investigation into maritime disasters, which could be the last hearing before Senator Richard Gordon, committee chairman, releases a committee report.

Invited to attend the hearing are the ship owners and captains of sea vessels involved in recent maritime tragedies, and officials of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Industry Authority, and Insurance Commission.

During the last hearing, survivors and families of victims of sea tragedies were also present. Jonathan Umali and Ramon Eugenio, survivors of MV Baleno-9 and MB Commando 6, respectively, narrated their experiences, revealing bad practices of domestic shipping companies in the country.

Umali, after the hearing, texted Gordon to commend him for his able handling of the Senate inquiry, and to thank him for his efforts to help the victims of sea tragedies.

"Sen. Gordon good evening po! Maraming salamat sa tulong ho ninyo sa aming mga survivor at sa mga nawawala pa naming pamilya. Sana ho tuloy tuloy pa rin ang inyong pagtulong sa amin. Napakagaling nyo po Senator sa hearing, alam nyo po ang inyong ginagawa," Umali's text read.

Last Jan. 8, Gordon, together with volunteer lawyers--Attys. Reynaldo Dario, Rodolfo Reyes, Norman Hocson and Joel Viado--went to Calapan, Oriental Mindoro to provide free legal assistance to the survivors and the families of victims of MV Baleno-9.

The lawyers asked the survivors and relatives of the other victims to fill up forms with their basic information for their affidavits. Eight of the 20 who signed the forms were survivors while the remaining 12 were relatives of missing passengers.

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