All 18 fatalities in Skyway bus crash identified
MANILA, Philippines - The 18 people killed in last Monday’s Skyway bus accident in Parañaque have been identified and claimed by their families, authorities said yesterday.
Lenie Domingo, a staff of Veronica Funeral Homes in Pasay City, told The STAR that the last unclaimed body tagged as “victim no. 6” was identified Thursday night by her relatives as that of Myla Angeles, a sewer from Cabuyao, Laguna.
The body of another victim, Emmanuel Layon, was claimed by his family on Wednesday.
Other victims brought to the Veronica funeral parlor were Arnold Jimenos, Roberto Bautista, Alvin Balurin, Ricardo Gonzales Jr., Reycel Constantino, William Toledo and Mar Edriane.
Earlier, the cadavers of Mary Ann Superio, Joey Esponilla, Jean Angelique Cadiz, Rodel Tolentino, Roger Orquejo, Richard Gaveria, Archie Dino and bus conductor Ramon Labang were claimed by their relatives at the Funeraria Amigo in Bicutan, Taguig.
LTFRB inspects bus firm
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has started its investigation of Don Mariano Transit Corp., whose unit figured in the deadly mishap.
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said a team inspected yesterday the bus company to check its compliance with labor standards.
“We would like to see the number of hours the drivers are made to work, which should not exceed 12 hours,” Ginez said.
He said they would also like to know the process of recruitment of drivers and the training they are made to undergo.
Ginez said the team would be checking how the bus units are maintained.
“The bottom line here is we would like to know if they are operating responsibly to provide a safe trip to the passengers,” he added.
The LTFRB had earlier suspended all 78 buses of Don Mariano Transit for 30 days following the fatal Skyway crash.
‘PUV operators liable for accidents’
Public utility vehicle (PUV) operators should be equally liable for road accidents along with their drivers and conductors, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.
Gatchalian said criminal and civil liability for accidents should not be limited to drivers and conductors alone.
He said PUV owners should have larger responsibility since they are the ones who are profitting.
“Drivers may be the ones who are directly accountable in times of accidents, but owners and corporations should be aware of their responsibility when it comes to public safety,” he added.
He called on operators and transport companies to imbibe the “safety culture” adopted in the airline industry, where strict safety records are imposed on the carrier companies from fleet maintenance, health checks and developmental training.
“The Land Transportation Office and the LTFRB need to set up systems in auditing PUV operators to ensure that they are strictly complying with the safety policies set by the government. Maintaining a proper safety culture among industry stakeholders is vital in providing accident-free transportation and thereby protecting lives,” he stressed.
Gatchalian also called for the overhaul of the land transportation industry in the wake of the Skyway accident.
“Overhauling the public transport industry is a top-to-bottom act that needs strong political will. Issues like labor, technical and mechanical specs, maintenance, road regulation and the fitness to drive play important roles in providing safe conveyance of the riding public,” he said.
The lawmaker noted that in other countries, PUV operators are given a set of key performance indicators by regulatory bodies.
“If these indicators are achieved, incentives are given. However, if operators fail to keep up with the benchmarks set by the government, penalties and punishments are imposed,” he said.
Gatchalian said the public transport sector would always face issues “unless government will take radical steps to address and solve them.”
“Operators have to meet rising service standards. Everyone should understand that public transport has an economic value and purpose. By laying down the foundation for accident-free travel, people get to work on time and increase their productivity. Movement of goods and services are faster and more efficient,” he said.
He pointed out that the aim of road safety is to provide commuters a safe, affordable, accessible, efficient and reliable public transport service – and for them to return home safe to their families. – With Reinir Padua, Jess Diaz, Paolo Romero