Understaffed LTFRB to audit public buses nationwide

The gargantuan task will fall on the laps of 400 employees nationwide, against the more than 400,000 public buses

BUS AUDIT. The LTFRB is set to conduct a nationwide audit of the country's public buses. File photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The ratio’s one to 1,000, but the understaffed Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to conduct a special audit of public utility buses in the country.

It announced the gargantuan task on Thursday, December 19, apparently prompted by a Monday bus accident – an overspeeding Don Mariano transit bus fell off the elevated Skyway in Metro Manila – that killed at least 18 people.  

The franchising board has 400 employees nationwide who will be examining the franchises and road fitness of over 400,000 public buses. The ratio becomes bigger if other kinds of public utility vehicles are considered, according to LTFRB Chairman Atty. Winston Ginez – one employee for every 10,000 PUVs.

Ginez said the LTFRB would tap the help of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) to conduct the audit.

Speed limiters

Following an en banc meeting at the LTFRB on Wednesday, Ginez said they are now in talks with possible suppliers of speed limiters.  

“If we need an iron fist to implement this policy, we will not hesitate to do it. We will make this a top priority as we review our rules and regulations next year,” Ginez said.

An Iloilo representative this week filed a bill seeking to make speed limiters mandatory for public buses. There is also an online petition for LTFRB to make speed limiters a requirement for buses when applying for or renewing franchises.

Meanwhile, Don Mariano Transit Corporation, the operator of the bus in the deadly Skyway accident, is scheduled for a hearing on Jan 7, 2014. During the hearing, the LTFRB will determine if the franchise should continue, be revoked, or suspended.

A company that has at least 3 accidents on record can have their franchise revoked. Don Mariano was also involved in an Ortigas Avenue flyover accident that left 6 people injured.

The LTFRB has since imposed a preventive suspension on Don Mariano’s 78 bus units for 30 days following the Skyway accident. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com

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