Press Release
July 7, 2015

Bam: Charge Negligent Gov't Employees Ormoc City Ferry Tragedy

Negligent government employees must also be held accountable for allowing the ill-fated M/B Kim Nirvana to leave port despite being overloaded, Senator Bam Aquino stressed.

"While we welcomed swift action against the captain, ship operator and crew of the ferry that capsized off Ormoc City, erring government employees must also charged for their failure to ensure the safety of passengers," Sen. Bam said.

"Government employees in the area are as culpable as the captain, operator and crew of M/B Kim Nirvana for the death of 61 people. They should also be held responsible for this incident," added the senator.

On Saturday, authorities have filed multiple murder charges against the owner Joge Bung Zarco, boat captain Warren Oliverio and 17 crew members of M/B Kim Nirvana.

The Philippine Coast Guard has already relieved two of its personnel - Fidel Blanco and John Sabado - for allowing the vessel to leave port despite being overloaded. However, the two were not charged.

"Hindi puwedeng kapitan, may-ari ng barko at mga tauhan lang ang papanagutin sa pangyayaring ito. Dapat tiyakin na lahat ng may responsibilidad at kasalanan ang siyang mapapanagot at maparusahan," Sen. Bam said. Earlier, Sen. Bam reiterated his call to investigate the seaworthiness of maritime vessels in the country in the wake of this recent sea tragedy.

As early as May 2014, Sen. Bam has filed Senate Resolution No. 652, calling for the investigation on the seaworthiness of maritime vessels to ensure their safe and efficient operations and avoid maritime accidents.

However, the resolution gathered dust and was never heard by the appropriate Senate committee.

In his resolution, Sen. Bam emphasized that the national government has the duty to implement positive measures that can alleviate, if not resolve, the recurring maritime accidents over the past decades.

"Magpapatuloy ang ganitong sistema kung papayagan nating makaligtas sa asunto ang mga tauhan ng pamahalaan na may tungkulin na tiyaking ligtas ang pagbiyahe ng ating mga kababayan," he stressed.

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