With the current upsurge in vehicle accidents in Cebu the LTO (Land Transport Office) have been forced to act and will be deputising six to ten police officers from each Police station in Cebu Province. It is all part of trying to improve road safety.Senior Supt. Erson Digal, chief of Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), said the deputised Police personnel will target traffic violators and is expected to lessen the risk of overloaded buses and reduce the roads of bad drivers.
Digal has asked all chiefs of police in each city and town to submit the names of those who will be deputized by the LTO.The LTO will deputize six policemen from each town and 10 policemen from each city in Cebu province.
The deputised personnel will undergo seminars and other forms of training.Digal said that as LTO-deputized agents, they will have the power to issue Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) to drivers for traffic violations.Aside from the random checkpoints the police are required to do, they will now be tasked to apprehend reckless drivers, overloaded buses, those driving without licenses and other traffic violators in an increasing show of force to reduce the risks on Cebu’s roads. What is the real difference? well the deputies can now issue TOP instead of general citations its a move to increase power at the roadside.
Arman Perez, secretary general of Bayan Muna, said that if LTO and LFTRB were only doing their job religiously, the accidents would have been avoided.“Why did those bus units pass the test without the thorough inspection of LTO and LTFRB? There is something fishy going on in those two agencies,” he told.He said that even if the government deputizes policemen to implement traffic laws if they don’t solve the main problem, accidents would still occur. He pointed out that road worthiness tests done by the government are useless if even defective buses still pass the test. He accused the LTO and LTFRB of engaging in “shady transactions” with bus companies that is why many buses that are not fit to travel are able to operate.He cited the J & D tourist bus which just got a newly released permit to travel by the LTFRB before the accident as a concrete example and the recent accident involving a V & JA Bus Liner which had no hand brakes.Bayan Muna sent a letter last week to the Cebu City and Provincial Government asking officials to check the lapses of the LTFRB.
He said the government should focus on the root cause of the accidents which is the lack of precautionary actions done by LTFRB and LTO. “They will just act if there are already lives wasted by accidents,” he said. As this developed, Cebu South Mini Bus Operators Association president Jolito Flores urged the provincial government to sustain its plan to subject the drivers to drug tests and seminars to prevent road accidents.Flores pointed out that these calls for a drug tests and seminars as preventive measures would only crop up if there were accidents. Which still does not reduce the risk of the accidents happening in the first place. Flores said it would appear funny that these preventive measures would be implemented if there were a series of accidents.
(Where are the seminars and the testing during the time when there were no accident)?” Flores asked then added that these measures would be beneficial to bus operators.“We even are the ones who suggested this plan because it is for us to be sure that we are hiring the right driver,” he added.
The association has 54 members-operators with a total of 140 buses/units plying the roads to the southern part of Cebu. Flores alone employs 20 drivers for his 14 mini buses. Flores said the association welcomes the idea to subject drivers to written exams but it should not be relied as a strong basis for the driver’s prowess.He said the exam is in English and is not an assurance that those who pass the exam is a good driver.“I suggest to put the driver to an actual driving test too and let the officials deliberate not only on the written result but on the actual driving skill of the driver,” Flores suggested.
I wonder if this is going to be the start of things to come or will it simply disappear once the media coverage does. The number of accidents like the Ferry accidents in the last couple of years seemed to happen all around the same time. I don’t hear of any extra checks being done on the Ferries and I have a feeling the buses will go back to “business as usual” within the next three months. Traffic violations are a daily occurance for the drivers as they rush backwards and forwards on their routes to get as many passengers to destinations as quick as possible to maximise profit. In reality within a short time I believe money will come first, safety and maintenance last.