Press Release
March 14, 2017

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's Closing Remarks
On transport-related bills

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who delivered a privilege speech calling for a legislative inquiry on the Tanay bus accident and other transport accidents, lamented that the drivers are the ones being blamed on accidents--or what is more often called as "human error"--but we do not go after the regulatory agencies that issued certificate of roadworthiness on public utility vehicles. Sen. Sotto also called for stricter implementation of issuance of driver's licenses.

The committee also found that the bus was inspected in Subic sometime 2004. According to LTFRB, their investigation revealed that the Panda Coach bus was actually 29 years old, way beyond the 15-year cap implemented by the agency on buses.

Our resource persons also said they impose a 15-year age limit on buses due to lack of an effective motor vehicle inspection service (MVIS). We only have nine all over the country and for the entire NCR, I think we have one.

As regards the Tanay bus crash, the LTFRB said one significant finding of their investigation was there were no skid marks on the road leading to the crash site, which was quite unusual since the road was treacherous.

According to former LTO chief Alberto Suansing, now the Executive Director of the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership, there were enough warnings on the road. The road, based on their inspection, was actually an uphill portion so the driver had to pick up speed when he lost control of the bus. The brake was also functional but had signs of burns.

Per the LTFRB, they said they are going to launch a driver's academy training in coordination with TESDA that has an existing program. Sinabi ko rin na tanggalin na yung mga nakapaskil na instructions tungkol sa rules and regulations ng driving doon sa areas na nag-eexam. Pupuntahan namin kayo. Umpisa pa lang, tinuturuan ng maging mandaraya yung mga drivers.

Asec. Galvante, you have been very candid, I appreciate this, because this is how we can help you. Tell us your shortcomings and tell us what the problems are. Of course, these problems have been in existence way before your arrival in the agency.

We also heard that there was no clear protocol on how the investigation was being conducted. For the Tanay bus crash, the PNP was the one in charge of the investigation. Kalat-kalat ang imbestigasyon, hindi naman ito kasalnan ng PNP lamang, wala naman talaga silang kakayanan na gawin itong mag-isa.

Narinig din natin na wala man lamang person of authority na kasama sa bus, maging ang kanilang NSTP head ay wala naman dito sa pagdinig dito..

As a requirement of regulatory agencies, especially CHEd and DepEd, nararapat na isama sa guidelines ang pagkakaroon ng persons of authority.

To make matters worse on investigations of transport accidents, it is the PNP and other land regulatory agencies that conduct investigations; for maritime accidents, the Coast Guard forms a Board of Marine Inquiry to probe sea mishaps; for aviation accidents, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has an Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board, etc. It underscores the need for an independent body. Kasi nga naman iimbestigahan mo ang sarili mo, kayo-kayo rin ang nandun. Meron talagang conflict of interest at kahit na naging patas kayo di ninyo masisisi na magduda pa rin ang iba.

With all these situations, it is timely that we have pass remedial legislation that will focus on a clear cut investigation on transport-related accidents. The board will be tasked to investigate accidents involving transportation, such as aircraft, highway accidents, railroads, pipelines, and major marine accidents. It is also an independent body that will conduct studies on transport safety and report to Congress, the President and concerned state agencies on how to make transportation safer.

I'm glad we all agree that we need a National Transport Safety Board.


This hearing is hereby adjourned.

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