Safety advocates call for safer transportation system in PH
Safety advocates called for safer transportation in the Philippines in a press conference held in Makati City yesterday.
In 2019, the Philippines witnessed several transportation accidents including the deadly sea mishap in Iloilo-Guimaras Strait, which took the lives of 31 people. For an archipelago like the Philippines, inter-modal travel is vital in moving people and goods.
Before the adjournment of session, the Senate approved on third and final reading Senate Bill 1077, creating the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last December 9.
The passage of Senate Bill 1077 was praised by the Safe Travel Alliance, a coalition of stakeholders that seeks to elevate transportation safety standards in the Philippines.
According to Safe Travel Alliance convenor Dr. Cherry Lyn Rodolfo, “Safety and security are key pillars of seamless mobility of people and goods especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines generally dependent on inter-modal transportation systems. The tourism sector that contributed to 12.7 percent to the Philippine GDP and 13% of total employment in 2018 will benefit from this reform as well.”
According to Atty. Roberto Lim, Vice Chairman – Executive Director of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), “Notably, we urge everybody to lobby with Congress, not to deviate from international practice. The NTSB is fact finding and therefore the objective is to prevent future accidents. That is why any findings should be inadmissible whether civil or criminal. Otherwise, the parties involve in an accident will not be able to fully extend their cooperation. We hope that this kind of culture is adopted and supported by law.”
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Director for Projects, Events and Training Gerry Constantino underscored that the creation of the NTSB will provide independent assessment of transportation accidents. “It will promote, improve and enhance transportation protocols and safety standards. Plus, improve transportation safety performance of the country”, he added.
NTSB’s investigatory, and fact-finding functions will allow the agency to implement a proactive approach and be in control of situation even before it happens. As an independent and impartial transport safety body, it is tasked to coordinate all the actions of relevant public and private entities toward the common goal of ensuring transport safety.
Bills that seek to establish the National Transportation Safety Board has been languishing in the legislature for over two decades. The Safe Travel Alliance is hopeful that the NTSB can finally be enacted in the 18th Congress. SB 1077 under Committee Report No. 8 is the consolidation of Senate Bills (SB) Nos. 125 and 651 authored by Senators Poe and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., respectively. At the Lower House, the Committees on Government Reorganization and Transportation chaired by Reps. Marvey Mariño and Edgar Mary Sarmiento approved House Bill 3565, An Act Establishing the NTSB and it is currently pending with the Committee on Appropriations.
The press conference was attended by AKAP-Pinoy, Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Automobile Association of the Philippines, Bayanihan sa Daan, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Commuters of the Philippines, Department of Tourism, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Greater Clark Visitors Bureau, International Air Transport Association, Kalyetista, Laban Konsyumer, Metro Manila Development Authority, and Philippine Interisland Shipping Association.
Other members of Safe Travel Alliance who were not in attendance but supportive of the creation of the NTSB are Iloilo Business Club, Joint Foreign Chambers, Move Metro Manila, National Center for Commuter Safety Protection, Palawan Tourism Council, Philippine Advocates for Road Safety and Subic Clark Alliance for Development.