The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa have raised concerns and called for the strict implementation of laws on speed limits along major thoroughfares after two accidents that occurred in the national highway in city recently.
The local lawmakers were referring to a road accident in Barangay Sta. Lucia early in the morning last Sunday, April 30, where a shuttle van carrying 10 passengers crashed after the driver lost control of the steering wheel. Four people died on the spot while others were severely injured.
Later in the afternoon, another shuttle van also crashed in Brgy. Irawan, resulting in one fatality.
The recent accidents have prompted the provincial board members to once again urge the government agencies responsible for implementing road laws to take action.
In separate privilege speeches, Board Members Ma. Angela Sabando and Rafael Ortega called for an inquiry and invited officials from various agencies, including the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and other concerned organizations, to discuss road safety measures, particularly in the national highways of the province.
The board members expressed their frustration that accidents have been happening in the same location for several years, including the Sunday mishap.
Ortega said such accidents can be prevented if due diligence is observed, despite the fact that they do occur.
“I believe that it can be avoided with due diligence both on the part of the road users and agencies involved in ensuring the safety of our road users,” he said.
He voiced dissatisfaction with previous proposals to mitigate these incidents, such as putting rumble strips in strategic places of key roadways, aggressively enforcing speed limits, and conducting frequent road safety awareness campaigns.
In addition, he encouraged shuttle van operators to properly enforce driver recruiting and vehicle maintenance regulations.
Ortega further raised issues regarding colorum vehicles and advised operators with franchise to prevent them from appearing legitimate.
Meanwhile, at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Councilor Elgin Damasco also raised the same concern, expressing alarm about the number of colorum vehicles plying the north and south routes of the province heading to the city.
“Napag-alaman natin na maraming colorum shuttle van sa kadahilanan na kulang sa pampublikong sasakyan ang lungsod kaya parang binibigyan natin ng konsiderasyon na makapasok sa ating public terminal itong mga colorum (We have learned that there are many colorum shuttle vans because the city lacks public vehicles, so we are giving consideration to allowing these colorum vans to enter our public terminal),” Damasco said.
He added that LTFRB constantly reminds the public that vehicles should have GPS, dashcam, speed limiter, wifi and CCTV cameras which are mandatory safety and security requirements of public vehicles before the operator can be issued a franchise.
“The owner of Charing Transport has confirmed that the vehicle involved in the incident last Sunday does not belong to the company and only used the name, therefore, the passengers cannot claim insurance,” he explained.
Damasco suggested that a resolution be put forward in the city council to urge Mayor Lucilo Bayron to implement a speed limit on all vehicles using the roads within the jurisdiction of Puerto Princesa. The proposed resolution would also impose penalties and sanctions on anyone who violates the speed limit.
Board Member Ryan Maminta further stated that although there are already laws in place, there seems to be a problem with their enforcement.
He said that he will propose and request the province’s chief executive to initiate a transportation summit to finally address the issues and concerns mentioned.