Another ferry tragedy, another preventable disaster.  What puzzles me most about this – and other weather-related ocean vessel disasters – is that we are a tropical island nation, yet a lot of these still happen.  We should know about the ocean and about storms.  But that’s just it, we SHOULD, but DO we really?  Or do we ignore what we know for income’s sake?  Or is it really just plain and simple ignorance?

With the number of storms – and their different, sometimes erratic behaviors – that buffet us year after year, common citizens and weather and maritime authorities alike SHOULD know by now that no matter how hard you try to predict its path, there is always a chance that it would change course at the last second.  (Not even factoring in the worn-out joke on Pagasa’s weather predictions)  Just last year, there was a typhoon that suddenly came back just when we thought it was all the way out.

So it doesn’t make sense that the MV Princess of the Stars was allowed to sail just because the typhoon was not predicted to directly cross its path.  The mere fact that a typhoon from the Visayas (where the ship was headed) was on its way to Luzon (where it was coming from) should have been enough reason to cancel the trip.  The airlines already did; did the maritime authorities really think that ships are more invincible than airplanes, and that the water is safer than the air?  Did they really think that a typhoon’s path is cast in stone?

And now it’s on with the finger-pointing, the craziest of which is Sulpicio Lines blaming Pagasa.  It is not the responsibility of weather authorities to allow or cancel trips.  It is still the discretion of Sulpicio Lines and the Coast Guard.

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On a more personal note:  One of the hardest hit areas of Typhoon Frank is my beloved Panay Island, especially Iloilo.  A cousin who lived there is in Australia now, so there’s no immediate cause for concern, but my heart still goes out to my fellow Ilonggos severely affected by the typhoon.  Closer to home, our street in Pan-ay, Capiz got flooded – something that rarely ever happens.  As of the last time we were in touch with my aunt and cousin, which was a few days ago, there was still no electricity at home.  They’re all right though, and the house is fine so there’s no cause for worry.  But still saying a prayer for all the lives and souls of victims…

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