Poe: Transport safety board must be priority 


SEN. Grace Poe renewed her pitch for timely enactment of an enabling law creating a Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), embodied in Senate Bill 1121, citing the need for “truthful and thorough investigations” deemed indispensable in addressing transportation accidents.

Elevating Senate Bill 1121 (PTSB)  for floor deliberation leading to a plenary vote, said the proposed PTSB Act will establish an agency in charge of investigating transportation-related accidents and incidents.

In her sponsorship of SB 1121, Sen. Poe stressed: “We need an independent agency that shall conduct independent, thorough, and truthful investigations, and provide corresponding and critical recommendations.”

She assured that “the PTSB can save lives,” noting: “And not just that, it is also hoped that it can resolve the issues in our transport systems without even causing a shutdown. The enactment of this measure will be the first step towards safer and more effective journeys for all Filipinos.”

Recalling the New Year’s Day air traffic shutdown that stranded tens of thousands of passengers and disrupted nearly 300 flights, as well as the series of recent air crashes, Poe said such should “prompt the creation of the PTSB to expedite investigations, exact accountability and prevent the occurrence of similar tragedies.”

The senator acknowledged that the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and other concerned agencies can also look into accidents within their jurisdiction.

However, she believes “an independent and dedicated agency can more efficiently and expeditiously address such incidents.”

She stressed: “Much like what we saw during the New Year fiasco at the airport, CAAP will never say that they were remiss with their maintenance. When a ship sinks, MARINA will never say that they failed to conduct the proper inspection. And when a fatal train accident occurs, DOTr will never admit that they bought a malfunctioning train or that corners were cut during construction.”

At the same time, Poe noted that CAAP currently functions as regulator, operator and investigator during accidents. “Even CAAP recognizes the disadvantages of these conflicting roles and supports any proposal to separate these functions. Congress had to step in because CAAP couldn’t even figure out what went wrong,” she added.

Still, she maintained the measure is “not a duplication” of existing functions of some agencies and highlighted the need to “institute an independent agency with the proper expertise to investigate transportation accidents as per global standards.” 

Image credits: Senate PRIB