Monday, July 14, 2008


The Philippine government once upon a time purchased a GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) to the tune of P700 (plus) million pesos. To this day, that same equipment is still in a container rotting somewhere (since 1999), and according to Lt. Sr. Grade Armand Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman, that GMDSS is already outmoded and obsolete and hinted that it may not match and be compatible to the other equipment in many of the ships sailing our seas today. Who is the contractor responsible for this? I believe this equipment was purchased during DOTC's former Secretary Josie Lichauco's term, and who seems to know a lot on the history of the procurement of this equipment. Why wasn't it put to good use? Simply put, we need this equipment badly since it is an international system using advanced communications technology, and its main purpose is to enhance ship-to-shore communications by providing a rapid and automated distress alerting system with positional information. In short, it's the eyes and ears for all ships that set out to sea. In the case of the PCG and Sulpicio Lines, they relied too heavy on texting provided for by Globe and Smart. Now, that wasn't too smart for them at all. What if the ship's captain 'ran out of load?' It's time our congressmen help our Philippine Coast Guard by first improving on their alloted budget for modernization. Otherwise, any ship that leaves our piers is basically on its own, and that's one position none of them would like to be - unless of course you're Sulpicio Lines who seems to like getting its ships in trouble when they're out at sea. They either bump, burn or sink.

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