As you drive round the outskirts of Cebu city and towards the provinces where the roads get wider you start to see the reasons why the buses are so dangerous. A total disregard for traffic violations, pedestrians and other traffic on the road as it quickly becomes a race to get to its destination so it can get back on the road and to the city again to make more road runs meaning more profit.
The Balamban incident that made international news after causing the death of 21 people and injuring 30 came down to human error. The driver was actually in a higher gear than he should have been which resulted in him losing control of the vehicle such bad driving initially was reported as brake failure as any Professional driver would always be in low gear for transcending down such a steep slope. A mistake that cost him and many of his passengers their lives.
Eight days after Balamban a CNT trailer truck carrying two containers lost its brakes and ploughed into a crowd preparing for a Fiesta celebration outside the church of Barangay Poog. Four people were pinned to death and crushed while eight others were injured. Investigators said the driver Joel Pepito lost control of the vehicle after the brakes failed at the same time adding he should have checked the vehicle prior to travel. I would also like to add to this that emergency gearbox use would have reduced the risk responsible driver training could have saved lives same as Balamban.
On June 24th A Ceres Bus Liner fell on its side while negotiating a downhill curve in sitio Eme, barangay Damulog in Sogod after the driver suddenly stepped on the brakes. Twelve passengers were injured. Yet another incident involving driver error.
Then Saturday just gone a VJ and A bus overloaded with passengers crashed into the concrete fence of a house in barangay DAS, Toledo, killing 15 passengers. Some 65 others were hurt.Driver Diosdado Requiso claimed he lost control of the bus after its brakes malfunctioned. If not for the house fence along the road, the bus would have fallen further down and off a cliff. Another issue down to driver and vehicle failure.
Data from the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group showed that major road accidents were mostly caused by drivers’ mistakes including drunk driving, driving under the influence of illegal drugs, using a cell phone while driving, speeding, wrong overtaking or mechanical failure and road defects.
The figures were cited in a resolution passed by the Cebu City Council asking the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to act on the rising cases of vehicular accidents.
But the two agencies have long been aware of the lack of discipline of drivers on the streets. Some drivers do not even deserve their professional licenses with their sheer wanton disregard of traffic rules.
The series of vehicular accidents should push the LTO and the LTFRB to act and enforce the rules that ensure the safety of the passengers and motorists.
Or would they just wait for the body count to rise before realizing that they have a mandate to carry out?
Maybe its time people recorded more of how the bad drivers are acting and shame them on national TV forcing the Philippines government to act on such a wilful disregard for human life? Speed = Profit which is how I see these bus companies operating. There is a token gesture of paying for medical fees and burials but its back to business tomorrow without a single thought for the lost ones. If they had they wouldn’t keep repeating the same mistakes.