Poe wants creation of transport safety board

MANILA Following the tragic Occidental Mindoro bus crash, Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday highlighted the need for the creation of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), saying such an agency could have prevented similar recurring transportationrelated accidents.

At least 19 people died while 21 others were hurt after a Dimple Star bus hit a bridge railing and fell into a cliff in Sablayan town, Occidental Mindoro province Tuesday evening.

As we express our deepest sympathies to the family of the Mindoro bus crash victims, we are enraged with the loss of lives due to events that could have been prevented, Poe said in an interview.

This recent incident reminded us once again about how public transportation in the country can be so dangerous, she said.

Poe, the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, noted that road accidents has become the fourth or fifth leading cause of deaths among Filipinos.

In 2014, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported that accidents, mostly vehicular, have claimed the lives of 43,853 Filipinos.

Poe said the list of tragic road accidents and their casualties continue to increase because vehicles that are not roadworthy are still allowed to ply the roads, noting that there were already previous tragic accidents involving Dimple Star bus.

Hindi natin dapat ipagwalangbahala ito. Kailangan natin talaga ng National Transportation Safety Board (We should not ignore this. We really need a National Transportation Safety Board), Poe said.

Poe, who is pushing for the creation of the NTSB in the Senate, called on her counterparts at the House of Representatives to help in passing the bill.

"Ang importante dito hindi lamang yung imbestigasyon kung bakit nangyari kundi yung prevention ng mga buses na ganito (What it important here is not only the investigation on why these happened but preventing these buses from operating), she said.

The missing link in these accident prevention measures is the NTSB. There is a jumble of transport agencies, but there is no 'goto agency' that will be able to unravel and explain major transportation accidents, she added.

Poe said the NTSB would be solely responsible for looking into transportationrelated recurring accidents including sea, air, land and railway and determining their causes.

There is a general pattern to be perceived in each of the accidents, and unless we fail to piece them together, they will occur. This can be done by an NTSB which will be the transportation safety ombudsman who can raise the alarm on accidents waiting to happen, Poe said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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