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‘It can kill, too’: Guimaras guv against wearing of lifejackets

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Following last month’s motorboat accident in Iloilo City where nine passengers died, Guimaras Gov. Samuel Gumarin is suggesting that wearing of lifejackets aboard motorboats should not be made mandatory.

Gumarin said passengers may only hold their lifejackets during storm signal no. 1.

“Lifejackets can save lives. But it can kill, too,” the governor was quoted as saying by Panay News.

Gumarin was reacting to the opposition of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to an injunction issued by a local court back in 2012 against the mandatory use of lifejackets.

PCG officials said the Guimaras court order is contrary to the national policy on the mandatory wearing of lifejackets being enforced by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

To reinforce his argument, Gumarin noted that three of the nine fatalities in the Guimaras-bound MB Tawash that capsized in the Iloilo Strait last October were wearing lifejackets.

“The three were trapped under the capsized boat because their lifejackets got entangled,” he said.

Gumarin suggested that the wearing of life vests be made mandatory only during storm signals No. 2 and above.

“Pero kung signal no. 1, there is no need to put it on,” he pointed out.

The Guimaras governor recalled that on the day MB Tawash capsized, Iloilo City and Guimaras were not placed under any storm signal by the state weather bureau.

Only a gale warning was issued, and it was made late, he stressed.

Strong winds and big waves buffeted the motorboat until it capsized less than two kilometers after leaving the Iloilo City wharf.

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