Congressman Jerry Treñas from Iloilo is asking the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to institute a campaign against buses and trucks that are not roadworthy and deemed as junk vehicles instead of allowing them to ply public roads. This call comes after the recent increase in accidents caused by poorly maintained buses and trucks which endanger the lives of Filipino commuters and fellow motorists.
"The LTFRB should stop renewing the registration of buses and trucks that are already too old to be in the streets and are no longer road worthy. It is not very unusual to see buses and trucks here that are smoke-belchers indicative of a defective engine, worn out tires and are close to falling apart. These are huge vehicles and are very dangerous especially when left in the hands of speed demons," said Treñas.
Treñas noted that improperly maintained vehicles are among the leading causes of deadly accidents along with reckless driving. He is calling on the agency to exercise its authority to require proper vehicle maintenance as a requirement in securing or renewing registration and public conveyance franchise.
Instead of allowing the registration of re-conditioned buses made out of surplus parts, the Congressman suggests that the LTFRB and other related agencies encourage the use of modern alternative fuel buses, coasters and vans through tax credits and other financial perks. However, his suggestion requires a law to be passed. The 'Alternative Fuel Vehicles Bill' has been waiting in both legislative branches for several years already as it is not included in the priority laws of the President.
Calling the vehicles as "disasters waiting to happen", the lawmaker further went on to blame bus and truck operators for having "too much greed for profit that they don't even bother to conduct regular maintenance and safety checks on their vehicles, which mostly have worn-out tires, busted lights and poorly maintained brakes."
Despite the absence of a law, the lawmaker encouraged the LTFRB to go ahead and implement their proposal to require bus and truck operators to install speed limiters on their vehicles. He noted that the agency is mandated by law to impose rules and regulations that promote public safety. On December 16, 2013, a bus operated by Don Mariano Transit fell off Skyway killing 22 people. This followed a similar incident in July of 2011 where another bus operated by Dimple Star Transport fell off at a similar part of Skyway causing numerous fatalities as well.
"I hope that the LTFRB would move really fast because I have observed that nothing has changed since the Don Mariano accident that killed 22 people. We still see so much bus drivers with no regard for public safety. Kaskasero pa rin sila," he lamented.
On December 17, 2013, Treñas filed House Bill 3624 requiring speed limiters to be installed in buses which govern their speed to 60 km/h only. The bill also provides a penalty of PhP350,000 and a one-year imprisonment if a bus is caught without a speed limiter, while a Php100,000 penalty and six-month imprisonment will be imposed on tampering with a speed limiter installed in a bus.
The LTFRB has so far revoked the franchise of Don Mariano Transit last month following an investigation that resulted in multiple violations including an incident where one of their buses nearly fell off a flyover on EDSA.
Another bus headed for Bontoc, Mountain Province met a fatal accident dawn of February 7, 2014 reportedly killing 14 passengers, injuring 24 and leaving another 4 missing. The Florida Transit Bus (TXT 872) operated by GV Florida Transport fell off a ravine due to alleged brake malfunction. The fatalities included comedian Arvin 'Tado' Jimenez, and two foreigners; a Dutch and a Canadian national. The comedian set off for Bontoc to work on a personal project called '40 Mountains Project'.