Sotto wants DOTr to ban old, dilapidated buses

Camille Elemia
Sotto wants DOTr to ban old, dilapidated buses
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chair of the public services committee, wants stiffer penalties for overloading, after it was discovered that the Nueva Ecija bus was overloaded

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III wants old and dilapidated buses grounded after the numerous fatal crashes involving them.

Sotto was reacting to the Leomarick Trans minibus that fell into a ravine in Nueva Ecija, resulting in over 30 deaths.

President Rodrigo Duterte gave financial assistance to victims of the Leomarick bus accident. He gave P20,000 for each casualty and P10,000 to each of the injured.

Sotto told Rappler in an interview, “Remember before the Senate break, I delivered a privilege speech assailing the DOTr (Department of Transportation) and asking who certifies road worthiness of buses because of the Tanay incident.” 

He was referring to the Tanay bus crash in February. The bus, carrying college students, lost its brakes and crashed into an electric post killing at least 15. It was later discovered that the bus was already 29 years old when the law mandates that buses in operation for more than 15 years must be phased out.

“What they should do is ground all those old buses. Ground them, don’t let them be used,” he said.

“Ibasura lahat na bulok o luma na bus at re-eksamin ulit lahat na professional licensed drivers (Get rid of all dilapidated or old buses and reexamine all professional licensed drivers), Sotto said on Twitter. (READ: Corruption at LTO, LTFRB: Unfit drivers, vehicles on the road)

Based on the initial report to the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office, the bus, which was traveling from Isabela to Candon City in Ilocos Sur, was at the curved portion of the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Capintalan when the driver “lost control” of the vehicle.

Yarra said based on the survivors’ account, one of the front tires of the bus exploded, causing it to overturn, and then fall into the ravine. (READ: Why road crashes are no accidents)

Stiffer penalties for overloading

According to the police, the Leomarick Trans bus was overloaded. From a limit of 45 passengers, the bus carried 77 persons.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chair of the Senate public services committee, wants stiffer penalties for overloading.

Ejercito said Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, enacted in 1964, is an “outdated law” that needs to be reviewed.

“We were able to pass the Speed Limiter Act during the 16th Congress, I think it is high time to pass an amendment with respect to the violation of the prescribed maximum capacity of public utility vehicles,” the senator said.

He noted that the law does not provide for a penalty that corresponds to the possible damage or injury that passengers suffer.

“What we need are stiffer penalties for overloading. Right now, our law only prescribes for P2,000 and P3,000 and suspension of the Certificate of Public Convenience for 1st and 2nd offense, respectively,” Ejercito said. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com