Catbalogan Prepares For 30th Doña Paz Tragedy Commemoration

Catbalogan park will undergo a renovation starting next week in preparation for the 30th year commemoration of the world’s deadliest peacetime maritime disaster in history.

A shrine will be constructed inside the Pieta Park to be designed by renowned sculptor Joel Pragas, a native of this city.

A museum will also rise inside the Pieta Park that will house memories related to MV Doña Paz, a Philippine-registered passenger ferry that sank after colliding with the oil tanker MT Vector on Dec. 20, 1987 killing 4,386 people.

Most of the passengers are from Catbalogan and some from towns in Samar and Leyte provinces.

The renovation of Pieta Park intends not only to remember those who died but also to share the lessons of Doña Paz, Catbalogan Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan said on Monday.

“I believe that it may have been a dark and tragic part of the city’s history, but we must always look back and remember in order for us to move forward and have hope despite all the adversities that may come our way,” Uy-Tan said.

“By remembering the past, we are reflecting on the present and preparing for the future. We need to unite and give this importance for the sake of our future,” Uy-Tan added.

The passenger vessel was travelling from Tacloban to Metro Manila when it made a stopover in Catbalogan to load more passengers who wanted to spend Christmas in the capital. The vessel was seriously overcrowded, with at least 2,000 passengers unlisted on the manifest.

The ferry was at Dumali Point, along the Tablas Strait, near Marinduque on the night of Dec. 20, 1987 when it collided with MT Vector, an oil tanker en route from Bataan to Masbate. The tanker was carrying 8,800 barrels of gasoline and other petroleum products. (PNA)

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