Lawmaker seeks probe of Maharlika 2 tragedy

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/25 September) – Like the other maritime disasters in the country, the sinking of M/V Maharlika 2 almost two weeks ago may land in the halls of Congress too.

Rep. Guillermo A. Romarate, Jr., of the 2nd District of Surigao del Norte said he was contemplating to make a legislative inquiry on the sea mishap.

Romarate said he wanted an investigation because the management of Maharlika 2 seemed to have not attended to at least some of the survivors and families of the dead passengers of the ill-fated ferry.

The 30-year old vessel sunk last September 13 off Southern Leyte hours after leaving the Lipata Port in this city. At least eight passengers died and two others have remained missing.

Fifteen of the 111 passengers who were rescued suffered injuries.

Romarate told reporters on Wednesday that the operator of Maharlika 2 should pay the victims.

He also wanted to know the real owner of the ship saying it seemed to be owned by government agencies.

Some survivors and relatives of the dead victims said they did not receive enough compensation from the shipping company.

Jessamie Bahi, a relative of a victim said PhilHarbor Ferries and Port Services Inc., the ferry operator, could no longer be contacted when she tried to reach them to ask for documents for getting burial assistance from the Social Security System and Pagibig.

She said SSS and Pagibig were asking for receipts of burial expenses for her sister Betty but these were in the hands of PhilHarbor.

She said the ship management promised to email the receipts.

She added they only received P25,000 pesos from the ferry management.

“Asa naman ang insurance ug uban, dili na sila motubag, nawala-an na kami og breadwinner,” (Where the insurance and other benefits are, they wouldn’t say. We have lost a breadwinner) Jessamie said. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)