Dalog mourns for bus victims

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Friday, February 14, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Mountain Province Representative Maximo Dalog mourns with the victims of the GV Florida bus tragedy.

“[The people of Mt. Province] condole most sincerely with the families, relatives and friends of those who untimely lost their lives due to this accident. We commiserate with the injured and their families and we fervently pray for their speedy recovery,” Dalog said in a privilege speech at the House of Representatives.

As the province mourns the death of the hapless victims, Dalog called on government agencies to look closer into the accident in a bid to improve policies and facilities asking the Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, as well as the Department of Tourism to act as one to ensure safety for all.

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Dalog expressed alarm over road accidents becoming a normal incident all over the country.

“Though we do not pray for these to happen, accidents especially in foggy and winding roads in mountainous areas like ours in Mountain Province is a serious matter that certainly needs thoughtful, if not immediate attention by our transportation officials including all other government agencies concerned,” he said.

The highly publicized accident caused the instant death of 14 passengers and injured 32 others when the bus fell off a 116-meter ravine.

Dalog said the Florida Bus should not have been allowed to ply the highland roads due to its blotched franchise which is another bus company, Cable Tours.

"Definitely, the accident could not have happened had the Florida Bus Company properly maintained its buses and had not allowed its bus to ply the said route because of lack of franchise. For this to happen in a highly regulated industry like the land transportation industry is very hard to comprehend," the lawmaker said.

Dalog now calls on the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Road Board to look into this for the safety regulations if only to save lives of those who travel.

“Because of winding roads alongside deep ravines, foggy and unfavorable weather conditions and the terrain in these mountainous areas in our country, the installation of road signs, concrete barriers, parapets and guard rails including the installation of ‘cat’s eye’ or ‘tiger’s eye’ along mountainous roads will surely forestall the happening of road accidents,” he said.

Dalog also lamented the state of hospital facilities in the province saying, “Let us also take note of the fact that many of the wounded passengers were referred to Baguio City Hospitals which are five to six hours away from Bontoc when we already have our own hospitals in Mountain Province like the Bontoc General Hospital and Luis Hora Regional Memorial Hospital (LHRMH). They were referred to Baguio City for treatment because our hospitals in the province are not provided with adequate medical facilities to treat patients in similar emergency situations and that there is a dearth of medical specialists in our hospitals.”

“Because our plea that the hospital be provided with adequate medical facilities, personnel, medical specialists and be upgraded to a regional hospital was not favorably considered by the DOH. Even after the lapse of 22 years, the IRR to increase its bed capacity to 100 beds by virtue of R.A. 7445 was not yet approved by DOH up to the present,” Dalog lamented.

He also called on the DOT to “look into ways on how to mitigate the effects of this particular vehicular accident to our tourists to project the image that truly, it is more fun in the Philippines.”

Dalog said most passengers in the accident are tourists visiting Mountain Province and the Cordillera.

“We are happy and lucky because domestic and foreign tourists come to see the wonders that our countryside can offer them. With this accident, the tourism industry in our country particularly, in our province will certainly be negatively affected,” he said.

Dalog closed his speech thanking the volunteers, emergency rescuers, the civilian volunteers from the nearby villages of Talubin, Bayyo and Bontoc, the members of the PNP Mountain Province and the nearby provinces of Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya, the military, the Provincial Government of Mountain Province, the municipal governments and all government agencies for their active involvement in the rescue operations.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2014.

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