Until the next accident, again-A A +A
Monday, October 29, 2012
TO SEVEN Cebu families, they have a new reason to go to the cemetery this Nov. 1 and 2.
Seven of their own family members died last Saturday when the bus bringing them to the southwestern town of Pinamungajan, some 35 kilometers from Cebu City, slammed into a concrete wall. The family of those who died never knew they would have a new reason to go to the cemetery on All Souls’ Day or All Saints’ Day this week.
The bus belonged to the Jegans Bus Liner owned by former congressman Antonio Yapha. It was not overloaded when the accident happened in Barangay Don Andres Soriano, Toledo City, the police said, but there were passengers who said the bus was racing with another vehicle from Minglanilla, a few kilometers before Pinamungajan.
Other reports, difficult to prove, were of a white lady or other creatures in the middle of the road that surprised the bus driver and made him lose control.
Whatever the story behind the accident, the call for better regulation of public utilities and their drivers was made again. I wrote on June 21, 2010 a column titled “Until the next bus accident” about the incident that claimed the lives of 20 Iranian nationals and one Filipino on June 13. The bus they took to an outing fell down a ravine at the transcentral highway.
I wrote then that part of the government action that followed the bus accident in Balamban town was to do a thorough check on the vehicles and personnel of the company that owned the bus. The vehicles were checked and the personnel tested but these actions did not mean enough safeguards have been put in place.
Readers of the Sun.Star website at www.sunstar.com.ph made their own suggestions following the latest accident. User “bjfrank14” said each bus must have a maintenance record that authorities can check at any time. Periodic and spot safety inspections should be done, especially during times of heavy traffic such as long holidays.
“Simple things such as looking to see that there are no buses with bald tires leaving the terminal would go a long way to ensuring safety. It is time to think safety first.”
Another reader, “Wally,” said, “Why not open the route to other competitors who offer more safety and well-maintained buses than the ones owned by political clans in the district?”
An anonymous user said vehicles are able to get licenses and pass emission testing even if they should be on the scrap heap. “Who in the LTO gave these vehicles a clean bill of health? They should also be jailed. No one in the Philippines ever takes responsibility; it is always something or someone else’s fault.” Reader “JJ” said it is time the government agencies got tough on bus companies. “People have died when this could have been avoided by proper inspections, drug tests, seminars on responsibilities of drivers and monthly paid salary to avoid this speeding by drivers in the aid for more profits.”
It is a natural reaction to demand for road safety measures after an accident that involves loss of lives. But after months pass and the vigilance wanes, the call for stricter regulation gets pushed to the sidelines. Until the next accident happens, again.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2012.