Iloilo City- University of the Philippines Visayas campus- I arrived in Iloilo City exactly a day after Typhoon Frank (Fengshen) passed north of this city (on the first flight after the airport was reopened). While the storm hit Aklan province, Iloilo City bore the brunt of Frank's rainbands. Water was clearly dumped in the city sinking a majority of its districts in up to 4 meters of water.
The road from the new international airport is littered with the remains of washed out houses and vehicles some of which were completely filled in with mud. Not a few of the cars were brand new. Evacuees line the road and many have begun the clean-up. One resident told me that the water just rose within five minutes leaving them caught unawares. The only good thing is that this happened during the day and if it did happen in the night,the death toll would have been horrible, says the cab driver who took me around.
Iloilo is defined by two rivers and a geography the gives the city its name. Residents say that they have never experienced an "Ormoc style" deluge in their lives till Saturday. This is attested by a centenarian who lived to see this day.
The blame game on the sinking of the ship "Princess of the Stars" is on. The Sulpicio Lines ship (presumbably its largest and most modern) suffered engine trouble midway on its voyage from Manila to Mactan on rough seas off Sibuyan Island. With little power the ship eventually foundered and tipped over trapping 800 passengers and crew. About 50 or so survivors have been rescued with some drifting on to shores off Quezon and Masbate.
Blame has been heaped on PAGASA, the Philippine Coast Guard, Sulpicio Lines and of course the ship's captain (as of this writing, still unaccounted for).
The truth is like this. This is material that the National Geographic Channel's top rating "Seconds from Disaster" makes a good program on!
In the NGC show, a disaster happens when all the causal events come in line. Initially the causes seem unrelated but they are not. The show tells viewers no one can really wash themselves off the responsibility.
PAGASA still has no capability to make less than 12 hour forecasts. The PCG needs to review its protocols in allowing ships to set sail. Sulpicio Lines needs to see if its captains are up to their tasks. Investigators will have to connect the dots.
We have to be fair to Sulpicio, while it had the reputation as a sinkable shipping line, its ships are now new and did not overload.
The question is why this happened.