Rep. Anthony Del Rosario of the 1st District of Davao del Norte is requiring operators of public transport services to secure comprehensive insurance coverage for their public utility vehicles to protect victims of vehicular accidents and themselves from the high cost of damages incurred during a collision.

To be known as the House Bill 6174 or the "Public Utility Vehicles' Comprehensive Insurance Act," it states that the mandatory comprehensive insurance shall include coverage for own damage and theft, bodily injury and property damage and passenger personal accident.

Del Rosario cited Section 374 of the Insurance Code, as amended, which compels operators of public utility vehicles to secure third party liability insurance or surety bonds in order to assure victims of vehicular accidents, immediate financial assistance or indemnity regardless of the financial capability of the operators responsible for the accident sustained. He adds that it is the operators' paramount obligation, more than the drivers', to ensure the safety of their passengers, their vehicles, third parties and properties of third parties.

The Insurance Memorandum Circular No. 4-2006 limits the third party or passenger liability for all Compulsory Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance (CMVLI) coverage to P100,000. Under the measure, Voluntary Third Party Liability (VTPL) coverage shall be up to a particular amount that is applied after exhausting the limited liability amount of P100,000 as provided under the compulsory third party liability insurance.

This shall include reimbursement of medical costs for victims of the vehicular accident and liability for property damage caused by the insured vehicle against a third party vehicle or property.

The bill also provides coverage against death or bodily injury sustained by passengers of the insured vehicle due to accidents while riding the insured vehicle.

"The sense of responsibility and accountability exercised by private motor vehicle owners should be similarly demanded from public land transport operators, specifically, of buses and taxicabs because they are in the business of providing service to the vast majority who depend on public transport as the cheaper means of transportation," Del Rosario stressed.

The bill shall imposes a penalty of P50,000 and suspension of the franchise to operate for any operator of a public transport service that fails to comply with the requirement of securing a compulsory comprehensive insurance coverage for their motor vehicles.

For effective implementation, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in coordination with the Land Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Insurance Commission (IC) are tasked to issue the rules and regulations.