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Poe to hear transport safety bills Tuesday

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Sen. Grace Poe is set to lead a hearing on several measures calling for stricter regulation of land-based transportation on Tuesday (March 14) as road accidents continue to rise.

Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services is set to hear Senate Resolution No. (SRN) 190 filed by Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III, SRN 301 by Poe, SRN 314 by Sen. Leila de Lima, Senate Bill No. (SB) No. 1231 or the proposed Road Safety and Comprehensive Driver’s Education Act filed by Poe, and a privilege speech of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III calling for a probe on road accidents.

The hearing will also discuss other transport-related legislation such as SB Nos. 863, 896 and 1059 or the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights filed separately by Senators Ralph Recto, Joseph Victor Ejercito and Manny Pacquiao, SB Nos. 340 and 375 ordaining the Bill of Rights of Taxi Passengers filed by Senators Poe and Sherwin Gatchalian, and SB No. 656 or the Maritime Passenger Safety Act filed by Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.

She said that the number of transport accidents also prompted a renewed push for SB No. 162 or the proposed National Transportation Safety Board of 2016 which seeks to create an independent and non-regulatory panel that will oversee and coordinate efforts among various agencies involved in overall management of land, air, maritime and railway transportation.

The functions of the NTSB include conducting independent accident investigations; supporting safety programs based on continuing reviews of causes of unfortunate incidents; and assessing the operating practices and regulations of transportation-oriented government agencies, she said.

Invited to the hearing are Department of Transportation (DoTr) led by Sec. Arthur Tugade, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Metro Manila Development Authority, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Education and from the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection, University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies, Bestlink College Novaliches, Panda Coach Tours and Transport, and Haranah Tours, among others.

Poe, meanwhile, urged the DOTr, LTFRB and LTO to pursue urgent nationwide roadworthiness compliance checks on the units of all bus firms in the wake of the discovery that the bus involved in a recent road crash was actually plying the roads for three decades already.

A tourist bus crashed into an electrical post while traveling along Sitio Bayucal in Barangay Sampaloc in Tanay after it allegedly lost its brake and hit a post on Feb. 20, 2017.

Reports also noted that the students were going to attend a camping activity as part of their National Service Training (NSTP) Program at Sacramento Adventure Camp in Tanay when the accident took place.

The bus owned by Panda Coach Tours and Travel Inc. was actually manufactured in 1988 and not in 2004 as initially reported.

It should have been phased out based on DOTr Order No. 2002-30 which mandates the phase out of 15-year-old buses.

A total of 10,379 lives were lost due to road accidents in the Philippines in 2013, according to a report from the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, another report from the University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies estimated that 1,000 lives are lost every year due to road accidents. (PNA)