Cries for ‘NORMALCY’ as Guimaras marks 1 month of sea tragedy

Cries for the restoration of the “normal life” for its people echoed at every corner of the province of Guimaras as Guimarasnons marked the one month of the August 3, 2019 sea tragedy with 31 lives perished.

Hundreds of Guimarasnon joined hands in the simultaneous candle-lighting activity held at Buenavista, Jordan wharves in the island and at Parola Wharf in Iloilo City to commemorate the first month of the incident.

More than the thought for those perished and survived the said incident, it is the aftermath of the tragedy that pushed the lead organizing group, Hugpong Guimarasnon, to stage the prayer protest.

Dr. Richard Gabayoyo, convenor of Hugpong Guimarasnon, said that the objective of the event is to unite the Guimarasnons to act not only for themselves but for the welfare of their fellow islanders and of the province as a whole.

“Gin-ubra naton ini indi bilang isa ka tawo nga nagapaminsar sang welfare sang tagsa-tagsa sa aton. Guimarasnons, this is high time for us. We have to unite as one,” Gabayoyo said

As the riding public bears the wrath of the decision of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to limit the trips of the motorbancas, Gabayoyo said that they are knocking on the hearts of the officials of the concerned government agencies to RESTORE the normal operation of the motorbancas.

Wooden hulled motorbancas is the main modes of transportation for the people of Guimaras whose majority of the population have their livelihoods in the city and province of Iloilo.

With the geographic centrality of Iloilo the limited mode of sea transport has paralyzed Guimaras that relies mainly on agriculture and tourism as its main economic drivers.

Flow of trade in the province likewise disrupted while prices of goods continue to increase.

The post-tragedy economic assessment conducted by the Provincial Economic Development Office (PEDO) showed that income of the different sectors has decreased by half compared to their earnings before the unfortunate incident.

The event is hoped to persuade DOTr chief Arthur Tugade and to turn an eye to the predicament of the people of Guimaras according to Mr. Fred Davis, spokesperson of Hugpong Guimarasnon.

Davis said that the drastic decision of the agencies is slowly killing the island’s economy.
“Ang resulta sini amo ang pag-patay sang ekonomiya… ekonomiya sang Guimaras. Batyagan na naton ina subong. Bisan turista gapamilag-pilag,” he added.

As the province gears up for the modernization of the motorbancas, normalcy shall be restored first according to Davis.

He believes that the tragedy was an awakening for the agencies that crafts policies that are affecting the daily lives of the Guimarasnons and also for the people of the island to reflect on their shortcomings.

“Ang natabo gintugot sang Diyos nga matabo. Subong ang awakening. Awakening for the government agencies who are in-charge of policies that are directly affecting our daily lives. Awakening man sa aton nga direkta nga naapektuhan. Pagpabugtaw sa aton. May gusto ipa-alinton nga leksyon ang Diyos sa tagsa-tagsa sa aton,” Davis said.