MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) –The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday morning suspended for 30 days the entire fleet of Don Mariano Bus Company hours after one of its buses was involved in the tragic accident along Skyway which reportedly killed 22 and injured 20 others.
LTRFB chairman Winston Ginez said the suspension order is a standard operating procedure (SOP) each time a bus is involved in an accident so that investigators can check on the buses for roadworthiness, and the drivers for competency.
Ginez said the suspension order will take effect upon surrender of the license plates of all the 78 units of Don Mariano Bus Company.
“As part of our regulatory powers, we will not hesitate to suspend the franchise of bus operators who fail to meet our strict requirements in terms of road worthiness of their whole fleet,” Ginez said.
Ginez said the board can decide whether to prolong the suspension after its own investigation of the deadly mishap that happened at around 5:00 a.m. on Monday.
”All the bus drivers of Don Mariano Transit are ordered to undergo retraining,” said Ginez. The injured driver, Carmelo Calascas, will also have to undergo drug and alcohol tests.
Reports said the bus, with licensed plate number ULX-874, was cruising along the south-bound lane of the Skyway when it fell off the elevated portion of the expressway, plunging below a close van along the service road.
The LTFRB said Don Mariano Bus Company has been involved in other previous road accidents. In July this year, one of its units figured in a road collision along the flyover in Ortigas Avenue resulting in injuries to six passengers.
“Papatawan natin sila ng kaukulang suspension kasama na ang kanilang drivers na kulang sa disiplina at proper training sa pagmamaneho para masiguro na hindi na maulit ang mga nakakamatay na road accidents (They will be suspended together with their drivers who lack discipline and proper training in driving to make sure not to repeat the fatal road accidents),” he added.(PNA)