Palace assures safety of riding public

MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) — In the wake of a deadly bus accident at the Skyway, the Palace vowed to prevent irresponsible operators and reckless drivers from getting government permission to operate unsafe vehicles.

“The Aquino administration has always prioritized the safety of the riding public. The objective is to prevent irresponsible operators and reckless drivers from obtaining government permission to operate unsafe vehicles that place the lives of the riding public at risk,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec. Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr said in a media briefing.

He said the Department of Labor and Employment will closely monitor the compliance by bus operators of occupational health and safety standards.

Last year, the DOLE had imposed a two-tier wage system where bus drivers and conductors are entitled to a minimum wage and a performance-based pay to prevent them from overspeeding just to reach passenger quota.

On Monday, 18 people were killed when a Don Mariano Transport Corp. bus fell off the Skyway reportedly due to overspeeding.

Coloma said the government continues to observe the principles of enforcement, engineering and education in preventing a repeat of the bus tragedy.

He said they are also open to the use of speed monitoring or limiting devices on public utility vehicles like buses saying such devices could benefit bus operators, to ensure bus drivers do not overspeed.

“Puwede ito gamitin as a monitoring or control device. It will also be for the benefit of bus operators. Pati ang pagsunod ng drivers to proper speed limits will also affect the fuel efficiency of their vehicles (Such devices could benefit bus operators, they can make sure drivers observe speed limits while going at a speed that maintains fuel economy),” Coloma said.

He however said it is up to the lawmakers to debate the merits of such a move and pass the appropriate bill.

Coloma cited the case of the Seat Belt Law, which was eventually passed and is now a requirement in public transportation.(PNA)