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Miriam wants PCG probed for defective lighthouses

Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has called for a probe into the alleged failure of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to repair 226 defective lighthouses or light stations all over the country.

A resolution has been prepared by Santiago calling for the inquiry on the matter, which was among the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the PCG.

Citing the COA report, Santiago noted that only 337 of the country’s 536 lighthouses were operational as of end-2014.

Santiago aired her concern about the safety of sea travelers in the waters where lighthouses are not operational.

“Commuters in Metro Manila highways are frustrated by hellish traffic. Those who need to travel by plane have to go through the ordeal of flight delays. But apparently, even sea travelers are unsafe,” Santiago said.

Because of the defective light stations, Santiago said that there are only 2.9 light stations per 100 nautical miles of Philippine coastline, lower than the standard of four light stations per 100 nautical miles set by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.

Santiago emphasized the importance of these lighthouses in the Philippine context because local fishermen still rely on these structures in navigation.

“Lighthouses are useful particularly to fishermen whose boats are not equipped with modern technology for navigation. Lack of operational light stations can jeopardize their safety,” Santiago said.

She noted that under Republic Act No. 9993 or the Coast Guard Law of 2009, the PCG is mandated to coordinate, establish, maintain and operate aids to navigation within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.

“The PCG management should prioritize the immediate repair of defective light stations and regularly monitor the condition of these facilities. Likewise, the PCG should increase the number of light stations to ensure the safety of all vessels navigating in Philippine waters,” Santiago said.

She also urged her colleagues in Congress, in consultation with the Department of Transportation and Communications and other concerned agencies, to determine the need to pass laws or amend existing laws to boost maritime safety.

ACIRC COAST GUARD LAW DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF LIGHTHOUSE AUTHORITIES LIGHT METRO MANILA MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD REPUBLIC ACT NO SANTIAGO STATIONS
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