Press Release
October 22, 2008


Following the accident that claimed the life of Dr. Francisco Sarabia, Senate Majority Leader and Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan today called for stricter penalties for traffic violators and called the attention of concerned government agencies to double their efforts in ensuring that the streets remain safe for the public, especially motorists.

"We've all heard of the joke that Filipino drivers are the worst in the world, but this is no laughing matter, not when so many innocent lives are endangered everyday," Kiko said.

Sarabia, 52, was killed after the Mercedes Benz he was driving burst into flames when it was hit by a speeding passenger bus in Santolan along EDSA. Initial investigation showed that Sarabia and his companion were travelling along EDSA when their car was hit from behind by a Joanna Jesh Transport bus running at high speed. The impact made the victim's car turn several times until it ended up facing the opposite direction, and exploding.

Kiko called on the Land Transportation Office of the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Traffic Management Group of the Philippine National Police to work together on the matter.

"We have a very sloppy process of issuing licenses. At the very least, it seems that almost anyone who knows how to start an engine is eligible to get a driver's license in this country. Aside from incompetent drivers, the problem is made worse by the presence of thousands of passenger vehicles without franchise, or kolorum buses, jeepneys and tricycles plying the congested streets of Metro Manila," Kiko added.

"We need to enforce stricter penalties on reckless drivers, especially on bus drivers, who have more responsibility because they carry more people and are often the cause of accidents in our streets. Imagine, if you commit illegal overtaking, you will only be asked to pay P150, and the same goes for an illegal turn, cutting an overtaken vehicle, overtaking at an intersection, among other dangerous offenses. Getting caught driving recklessly the first time is also only P150 under our rules. Kung ganito lang kagaan ang parusa natin, sino ang seseryoso sa ating mga batas pantrapiko?" Kiko asked.

"We need to strike fear for the rule of law. To have more responsible drivers, we need to make sure that our rules are stiff enough to get them to discipline themselves. We cannot afford to lose more lives because we refuse to act on this issue," Kiko ended.

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