SEARCH AND RETRIEVAL. Firefighters, Philippine Coast Guard, and Basilan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office personnel continues search and retrieval operations in Baluk-Baluk Island, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan Friday (March 31, 2023). following the fire incident that hit the M/V Mary Joy 3 on March 29. The PCG reported 29 fatalities, 216 survivors, and seven missing as of the latest count. (Courtesy of Kilo India)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Two Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) lawmakers filed a joint resolution Friday seeking an inquiry into the March 29 M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 ferry fire off Basilan province.

BARMM parliament member Amir Mawallil and Deputy Speaker Laisa Masuhud Alamia authored Bangsamoro Transition Authority Resolution No. 209, which also aims to determine the adequacy of the safety measures and protocols in place for sea travel within the region. The measure intends to craft legislation that will strengthen existing policies.

“While we grieve with the families of those lost in the tragic ferry fire, we in the BARMM government should also make sure we take steps to ensure that this incident does not happen again,” said Mawallil, who hails from Tawi-Tawi.

The ill-fated M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday near Baluk-Baluk Island, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan while sailing to Jolo, Sulu coming from this city.

Commander Christopher Domingo, chief of the Zamboanga Coast Guard Station, said in a statement that there were 29 fatalities and 216 survivors as of 8 a.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) team from Manila arrived in Basilan Friday to carry out Marine Casualty Investigation.

Four floating assets of the PCG remain in the incident area. Search and retrieval operations by the Bureau of Fire Protection, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, and the PCG on the vessel in Baluk-Baluk Island continued Friday.

Republic Act No. 11054 (Bangsamoro Organic Law) grants BARMM the authority to regulate transportation, including sea transportation, within its jurisdiction, and to exercise quasi-judicial powers over the operation of land and water transportation in the region. (PNA)