DELAYED obedience is disobedience.

This is one maxim I learned from my aunt a few weeks ago.

As a Med-Tech intern in the Out Patient Department of the UST Hospital, we are being honed to perpetually be on the move and to do our duties properly and instantaneously since we deal with real people whose lives can be jeopardized by mishandling and misdiagnosis.

But what if the lives we are firmly charged to save fall into the hands of people with little regard for them?

Recently, super typhoon “Frank” wiped out not only shelters, farmlands, and vegetations, but hundreds of lives.

The losses were not only due to Mother Nature’s tantrums but also due to the incompetence and irresponsibility of some persons in authority.

Despite the typhoon’s fury and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s storm warning, the M/V Princess of the Stars, a public transport ship owned by the Sulpicio Lines, was allowed by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to travel with more than 700 passengers and crewmen from Manila to Cebu.

The passenger ship cruised from the port of Manila at around 8 p.m. on June 20, and on roughly 12 p.m. on June 21, the Southern Tagalog Coast Guard station reported that the ship had sent a dire signal reporting “engine troubles.”

Because of the immediate weather shifts and sturdy winds, the ship’s pace began to slow down until its condition became unstable, prompting the passengers and crew to abandon ship.

The following day, the ship was found capsized near Sibuyan Island in Romblon, leaving some passengers dead and the majority missing.

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This event could have been averted had the PCG, Marina, and the Sulpicio Lines management have forestalled the ship from sailing, taking into consideration the safety of the passengers.

“Frank’s” casualties could have been even avoided if only the shipping firm had exercised more caution and the Marina carried out its mandate.

It is distressful that people in authority ill-use or abuse their powers or discharge their duties incompetently.

Let the recent disaster remind government and its officials that incompetence and boo-boos have no place especially in maritime situations involving life and limb.

The disaster in fact has made me more conscious of being a Thomasian, who is supposed to value life the most.

We are taught not only to preserve lives but promote and exalt them through compassion and respect for our fellowmen, obedience to our moral obligations, and making ethical choices for humanity.

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