• Senate urged to probe Skyway tragedy

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    SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has called on various government agencies to report their traffic and transportation regulations in light of the Skyway bus accident that killed at least 18 people.

    Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee on public works, has asked the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA); the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Philippine National Police to explain before the Senate panel their existing traffic and transportation laws.

    The senator made the call following the tragic road mishap involving Don Mariano Transit bus, which fell off the elevated expressway and crashed on a van on December 16.

    “What is unfortunate is that this kind of senseless death could have been avoided by proper implementation of, or compliance with, basic traffic and transport safety rules,” Marcos lamented.

    The probe, according to Marcos, will “aid the Senate for purposes of future legislation and amendments to existing traffic and transportation laws.”

    He added that the inquiry is timely not only because of the Skyway tragedy, but also because of a spate of similar vehicular accidents in the past.

    On November 18, the senator filed a resolution seeking an inquiry into the enforcement of a legislative policy embodied in the Civil Code (R.A. No. 386), which requires common carriers to always observe extraordinary diligence in the carriage and transport of passengers and goods.

    “There is an imperative need for Congress to assess the effectiveness of the Philippine government in confronting and addressing safety and security in our public transport system, roadways, pedestrian lanes, and other related infrastructures,” Marcos said in the resolution.

    Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito earlier called on Malacañang to consider the creation of a government “superbody” to effectively address the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila.

    “There should be a concerted effort among the different government agencies because I don’t think the MMDA can do it alone,” he said.

    Meanwhile, a transport leader criticized MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino for allegedly failing to implement traffic schemes such as tags for public utility vehicles (PUVs), which would supposedly track illegal PUV drivers and operators.

    “Obviously, these schemes failed because colorum PUVs are still operating not only in EDSA but also in other thoroughfares in Metro Manila,” he said.

    “Chairman Tolentino has been with the MMDA for more than three years. There should be some improvements by this time,” he stressed.

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