Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word 'Junket' as "a trip made by a public official at the expense of the public." Undertow defines it simply as "a picnic or an excursion paid for by someone else." Guess who that "someone else" is. And that clearly is what has taken place recently when President Gloria Arroyo and her cabal of useless government men boarded a chartered plane to the US at the height of 'Typhoon Frank.' The same typhoon that capsized the M/V Princess Of The Stars just a few days ago, snuffing out the dear lives of close to 800 Filipinos. At times like these, don't you wish these GMA sycophants took a Sulpicio vessel instead of a PAL aircraft to their destination? I would think so too. And that is also why it would be best for Sulpicio Lines to just sell off its fleet of ships for scrap metal. Sulpicio's perwisyo and lack of safety precautions is responsible for the deaths of many people. Look closely at the news. Who do you think were many of the survivors of the ship? The vessel's crew! Let's take a look back in history concerning Sulpicio Lines' memorable dates: In 1987, the M/V Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker in Tablas Strait. The tragedy claimed more than 4,000 deaths and was believed to be the world's biggest peacetime sea tragedy. In 1988, M/V Dona Marilyn, sailing from Manila to Leyte encountered gigantic waves brought about by Typhoon Unsang and capsized, killing 250 people. Strangely enough, the Board of Marine Inquiry deemed it to be "an act of God," and therefore ruled that no one was responsible. In 1998, the M/V Princess Of The Orient, travelling to Cebu from Manila sank at the height of Typhoon Gading. 150 people died there, and the Justice Department ruled that Sulpicio Lines could not be held liable for the tragedy. When something of this nature happens once, then it may be just purely accidental. But, for it to happen 3 or even 4 times - now that's criminal negligence! This government must, in the name of those who perished and their respective family members, do something. As it is, it's the same old song played every year. When some tragedy happens, then they call for an "inquiry" leading to nothing. No one ever goes to jail for crimes committed and for the senseless deaths of scores of people. It's the culture of impunity again and again. Once and for all, would this government please throw anyone and everyone responsible for this in jail! Please? A word of advice to you squatters in Malacanang, government junketeers, you shameless cabinet secretaries, you shameless congressmen, you shameless governors and undersecretaries and military officers: next time you plan a junket to the US, go there via one of Sulpicio Lines' vessels. And I promise you, It's a trip you would surely die for.

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