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Opinion

Wanted: A NTSB to investigate ship disasters!

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila -

The Year 2009 will be remembered as a year of disasters, both man-made and natural. What pisses me off is that, we just can’t seem to fix things that we as a people ought to fix, but instead go on the usual fingerpointing, blaming others for our woes. Thanks to an opposition that is so hungry for power and seething with hatred for the Arroyo Administration (sounds familiar? This also happened during the Marcos Regime) Filipinos blame anything and everything on the government, even if it is an act of God!

I grew up at a time when the great US President John F. Kennedy spoke these stirring words during his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you… Ask what you can do for your country!” Alas, Camelot is long gone and the Kennedys have died. These stirring words by JFK are lost even in the US. .

I guess you can say the same thing about the Philippines. Government has a huge role in Filipino society; it has become a way of life, a family business and the heck with what other people think about it! We complain that the Philippines have been left behind by the Western world but we are also being left behind by our ASEAN neighbors. Blame the government again? Perhaps now is the time to remind you what is emblazoned in the forehead of the Cebu Provincial Capitol. “Authority of the government emanates from the people.” So the bottom line is, blame yourselves!

* * *

Last Christmas Eve there was another ship disaster off Manila Bay when the M/V Catalyn B struck a fishing vessel F/V Anatalia and sank off Limbones Island off Cavite, leaving at least four people dead and more than 20 still missing. Already another 12 bodies have been recovered. As the search for the missing continues, last Sunday another sea tragedy happened.

When the M/V Baleno 9 of the Besta Shipping Lines sank off Verde Island near Batangas. This is a Ro-Ro vessel carrying cars and passengers across to Mindoro. 69 people have been accounted for, but 36 are still missing.

As expected, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has suspended the franchises for these shipping companies. This doesn’t really solve the perennial problem plaguing our shipping industry, where the majority of our vessels have become old and decrepit.

Shipping disasters such as these is also a reminder for us of how inutile Congress has become. They seek the votes of the electorate even if they failed in doing the job we have asked them to do. I have been writing articles about the need for a National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) that would investigate all air, sea and land disasters. Congress doesn’t even have to do much, except copy the existing law that created the NTSB in the United States. DOTC Sec. Larry Mendoza agrees to this, yet this bill has never been given any priority in Congress.

* * *

THE BLACKBOX:

Today is the birthday of my better half, Jessica who will be celebrating her natal day as usual without fanfare but a quiet time with the family. However her birthday coincides with a wedding in the Segura Family. Karel Angel Segura daughter of my cousin Ted and Cristine will be wedded to Chester Jan Nadela, son of Casimiro Nadela today at the Sacred Heart Parish Church. Wthout having a birthday party, we will be meeting friends and relatives during the luncheon at the Casino Español.

Also last Saturday afternoon, we had an unexpected, albeit a special treat at the Fernan Press Center when we listened to my 14-year-od nephew Jeremy Emanuel Y. Gonzalo performing selected classical piano pieces by Chopin, Liszt and Debussy before friends and family. Jeremy started taking piano lessons at age seven and made his first public performance before an audience of 300 people at the Sheraton Hotel in North Jersey. He is studying under a scholarship with Russian pianist and pedagogue Dolly Krasnopolsky at the Settlement of Music School in Philadelphia.

Last November 13, 2009 he had the distinct honor of being chosen to play in a world premier, the commissioned work of American composer Robert Capanna who acknowledged Jeremy’s talent and careful interpretation and enthusiastic interpretation of his work. I was all tears when he played my mother’s favorite piano piece Chopin’s Etude in E-Major and his interpretation of the Warsaw Concerto was fantastic for a young prodigy. Call it a blessing for the Segura family to have such great talent in our blood.

ARROYO ADMINISTRATION

BESTA SHIPPING LINES

CASIMIRO NADELA

CASINO ESPA

CEBU PROVINCIAL CAPITOL

CHESTER JAN NADELA

DOLLY KRASNOPOLSKY

FERNAN PRESS CENTER

JEREMY EMANUEL Y

KAREL ANGEL SEGURA

LARRY MENDOZA

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