Press Release
August 11, 2010


SENATOR Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. today directed the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to tightly monitor the operation of Sulpicio Lines Incorporated (SLI) after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed the same to change its corporate name to Philippine Span Asia Corporation (PSACC).

The senator admitted he is also puzzled why the owners of the MV Princess of the Stars, the flagship vessel of PSACC which figured in a sea mishap in 2008, changed its corporate name.

MV Princess of the Stars was the last PSACC's vessel which capsized and sank off the waters of Romblon at the height of typhoon "Frank". More than 700 of its passengers were perished.

"There is no problem if it is only name changing unless there is reorganization within the corporation. The victims' relatives and their lawyers should be vigilant on the possible legal maneuverings using its recent move to change its name. It might mislead the petitioners and the people involved in the case," Bong Revilla said.

The senator stressed that PSACC cannot use its newly-acquired name to be able to allow the full operation of the entire fleet. PSACC's passenger vessels were grounded after the sea tragedy.

He also ordered the agency that it should assure the vessels' facility improvement and it should be manned by well-trained crew before issuing their clearance.

It was learned that PSACC still holds a 25-year permit to operate but it is now limited to shipping cargos. Its passenger vessels have yet to pass inspections from the Marina before allowing the resume of its operation.

"The suspension to passenger vessels still stands. I specifically directed the Marina not to allow its sailing unless it passes the inspection and there are recommendations that the vessels are fit to travel with passengers," the senator stated.

The senator added that only two of its vessels, Princess of the South and Princess of the Earth, recently got clearance from the Marina to set sail.

The victims' relatives sought the help of the senator as they expressed fear that the latest act of the vessels' owner - changing its corporate name - meant to avoid their liabilities to the victims.

On the other hand, the senator explained that PSACC is still being maintained by the same owners.

"They cannot use their changed names to avoid clearing their liabilities because the company is still operational. As long as there is no corporate dissolution, whether its name is PSACC or SLI, it cannot evade justice," he said.

The senator recalled that it was not the first time that the PSACC figured in sea tragedy. Sulpicio Lines-owned MV Dona Paz, MV Dona Marilyn and MV Princess of the Orient capsized which killed hundreds of its passengers. They set sail during violent weather conditions.

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