DOTr urged to ensure safe, hassle-free trip of provincial travellers during the season

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Senator Grace Poe pressed the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday to ensure provincial travellers get adequate transportation during the yearend holiday season.

“The government should ensure availability of adequate, reliable and safe transportation amid the expected rush of passengers travelling to various destinations this Christmas season,” said Poe.

The senator, a long-time chairperson of the franchise-screening Committee on Public Services, reminded, “For millions whose only option is to take the public transportation, public utility vehicles (PUVs) should be readily and safely accessible.”

Poe pointed out that “the lack of PUVs could open the way for fly-by-night and other colorum vehicles that could jeopardize the safety of our riding public.”

She aired the reminder as the nation commemorates the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, Survivors and Their Families on the third Sunday of November.

Enacted into law as Republic Act No. 11468 in 2020, the measure encourages remembrance of the lives lost or injured in road accidents and promotes road safety that Poe authored as principal sponsor of the law.

With the onset of the holiday season, the senator envisions many families are expected to travel to place around the country.

“Concerned agencies should work closely with transportation groups and private operators to see to it that there are sufficient number of PUVs to transport our people safely to their destination,” she stressed.

At the same time, the senator prodded authorities to be on the lookout for “unauthorized for-hire vehicles that usually charge passengers exorbitantly. 

“Worst,” she added, citing reports that “they ply the roads without undergoing the proper safety checks exposing the public to road hazards and increased risk of accidents.”

Moreover, Poe reminded that according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there were 5,455 deaths recorded due to “transportation accidents” from January to July 2022. 

She noted that road crash incidents ranked 12th among the top causes of deaths in the country during the period.

Still, Poe is hoping the law would be fully implemented not only to remember the road crash victims, but also to “draw attention to the crucial task of embarking on shared actions to prevent further road traffic deaths and injuries and help families of the victims find justice.”

“The road tragedies leave a lesson that they should not be repeated, and remind us that the path to safe travels is a shared responsibility,” said Poe.