Business Mirror - Probe on Skyway mishap, other vehicular tragedies pushed in Senate

22 December 2013

By Mia M. Gonzalez | Business Mirror

businessMirrorA SENATOR on Sunday is calling for a Senate inquiry on vehicular accidents in the country, including the Skyway tragedy that killed at least 18 people this month.

In making the call, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said proper compliance with basic transportation-safety rules would have prevented such accidents.

“What is unfortunate is that this kind of senseless death could have been avoided by proper implementation of, or compliance with, basic traffic and transport safety rules,” Marcos said.

The Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will be asked to report on the implementation of traffic and transportation regulations, especially pertaining to common carriers, he said.

The senator said the probe would aid the Senate in crafting legislation and amendments to existing traffic and transportation laws.

He said the inquiry is timely in view of vehicular accidents like the Skyway tragedy, the Maharlika Highway in Atimonan, Quezon, and the Cebu marine disaster, and other minor accidents in the country’s airports and runways.

Twenty people were killed and 54 wounded when eight cars figured in an accident highway in Atimonan, Quezon, in October, triggered by the collision of a truck and a passenger bus; in August, a cargo ship collided with a passenger ship off Cebu.

Last month Marcos filed Senate Resolution (SR) 334 seeking a Senate probe on the enforcement of a 53-year-old rule and legislative policy provided under the Civil Code requiring common carriers to observe “extraordinary diligence” in transporting passengers and goods.

“There is an imperative need for Congress to check on the status of implementation and enforcement of said legislative rule and policy to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the Philippine government in confronting and addressing the matter of safety and security in our public transport system, roadways, pedestrian lanes, and other related infrastructures,” he said in SR 334.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is seeking the institutionalization of fixed monthly salaries and better working conditions for the public bus drivers through Senate Bill 1372, or the Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Program.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, believed that his proposal would lead to better road safety and traffic flow.