MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Friday, March 24, released the results of their investigation into a GV Florida bus accident in Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Malfunctioning brakes were to blame for the accident that led to the death of at least 14 people in February 7, 2014, when the bus fell into a ravine, said LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez.
The LTFRB also suspended all 188 units of GV Florida for 6 months. Ginez, in an interview on ANC, said the buses were suspended because of the company’s violations of LTFRB terms and conditions, as well as the public service law.
The LTFRB’s initial investigation found that the bus which fell into the ravine was actually a “private” bus registered with the Dagupan Bus Company. The plate number that was used, meanwhile, actually belonged to Mountain Province Cable Tours.
“We believe it’s a very serious and grave offense that would warrant the suspension of all its buses right now,” said Ginez.
The LTFRB’s findings are consistent with testimonies of survivors. One Dutch traveller told Rappler they heard a commotion in the bus after it took a 15-minute stop. The traveller, who does not understand Filipino, said her co-travellers were already whispering things when the bus started to go faster and faster downhill.
The suspension may be lifted after 6 months, as long as GV Florida following the following conditions set by the LTFRB:
- Its drivers must be certified by TESDA and compliant with TESDA’s national competency certificate #3, which is required for public utility vehicle bus drivers;
- Conductors must secure a conductor’s license from the Land Transportation Office (LTO);
- All units that have not been inspected by the LTO should be submitted;
- 30 days prior to the expiration of the suspension, all conductors must resubmit themselves for drug testing
Ginez said that during the preventive suspension of GV Florida, 7 of the company’s bus conductors tested positive for drugs.
Two months ago, the LTFRB cancelled one bus company’s franchise following a deadly accident along the Metro Manila Skyway. Ginez explained that the LTFRB did not cancel GV Florida’s franchise because they found the company did not commit other similar violations.
“We are giving a second chance for the respondent to make good and comply with the conditions after the 6 month suspension period,” added Ginez. – Rappler.com