"There is no central statistical authority in the Philippines for transport-related accidents from which safety policies can be easily formulated."
This is what congressmen Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, JR., Miguel Luis R. Villafuerte, Tsuyoshi Anthony G. Horibata and Nicolas Enciso VIII said when it comes road safety in the country.
Inspired by a previous bill by Senator Grace Poe to create the National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB, the lawmakers wish to highlight safety as a very important aspect of today’s transportation.
House Bill 1801, which was filed by the congressmen cited the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) global report stating that approximately 1.35 million people die every year as a result of road traffic accidents. The global report also shows that 90% of the figure occurs in low-income countries.
The bill wants to mitigate future damage and save lives through the proper study, regulation, management, and tech development in transportation. The UN General Assembly has called for cutting the global number of death and injuries from road traffic crashes by half by 2030. Even the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (UNESCAP) estimated via its study that a total of 345 Pinoys died per day in 2020 due to transport accidents.
Once House Bill 1801 or the Act of Promoting Cost-effective Measures for the Transport Sector and Commuting Public, Providing for the Creation of a National Transportation Safety Board, Prescribing its Powers and Functions, and Appropriating Fund is enacted, it will have a seven-member committee to oversee the Transportation Safety issues. The chairman shall be appointed by the President himself and must have at least 3 years experience in any administration of transport or regulatory agency. The bill also proposes that three full-time members of the board should come from the commuting public so that their inputs will be considered and updated to validate the agency.
This board shall gather, analyze, maintain, and publish data and statistics on transportation accidents, which will help lawmakers set new or replace old laws to increase road safety. These reports shall be periodically presented to the President and Congress and also to government agencies and non-government departments to help keep traffic accidents to a minimum.
If this bill is passed, the board will have an initial funding of PHP 50,000,000 on top of its annual operations budget from the government. The board, with the corporation of the DOJ, DOTC, PCG, DND, DPWH, PNP, and NBI, will implement these rules and regulations and will identify repeat violators to drastically reduce accidents, especially ones that result in fatalities.
Are you in favor of this board? Are we capable of putting up another body to deal with Transportation Safety or do we just beef up the existing ones that are in place already?