• Aquino ally says DOTC needs policy reforms for road safety

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    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) should renew policies that would yield to safer roads in the country, a ranking lawmaker said on Monday.

    House committee on Metro Manila Development Winston Castelo, who is also the representative of 2nd district of Quezon City, urged the DOTC to implement drastic policy reforms to ensure road safety in the country to be instituted through the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

    “These proposed policy reforms are long overdue. They should be pursued in the soonest time possible, No buts, ifs, and can’t,” Castelo said.

    According to Castelo, there is a need review of all bus franchises; inspection of the road worthiness of all buses; mandatory drug testing on all public vehicle drivers; and institution of the five-year limit on road life span of all buses and taxis.

    He said that board would be tackling the issuance of public transport regulation, “as it is empowered to issue, review, and cancel franchises to buses, taxis, and jeepneys” while the LTO targets the drivers’ competence as it is the agency that the provides drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration.

    Castelo said that the proposal on bus franchise reviews “would enable the LTFRB to distinguish the cross ownership of those buses, separate the buses with questionable ownership, and ensure that bus firms would follow strictly the requirements stipulated in their certificates of public conveyance.

    Further, Castelo said that the imposition of the five-year maximum limit on the road life span on all buses and taxis would allow the LTFRB to eliminate those virtual “rolling coffins.”

    “We also have to eliminate those eyesores from our roads,” the congressman added.

    Moreover, Castelo—an administration ally at the House of Representatives—said he has been asking the LTO to initiate the mandatory drug testing on all public transport drivers to eliminate those drug users, but the LTO has yet to take heed or initiate a solid move.

    “By eliminating those drug users, we could promote road safety. The LTO could start random drug testing until it prepares itself for actual and bigger drug testing of all drivers of public vehicles,” Castelo said.

    Furthermore, he said that the proposed periodic but thorough inspection of all buses would lead to the elimination of unsafe buses, thereby promoting safety of the commuters and other road users. RUBEN D. MANAHAN 4TH

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