By Alexandria San Juan
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has assured the public of more competent public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers under the government’s modernization program.
LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said the agency and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) have been addressing issues of errant PUV drivers through several programs under the modernization plan.
Last week, a 14-year-old student died and seven of his schoolmates ages 13 to 17 were seriously injured after a speeding passenger jeepney ran them over while they were crossing a pedestrian lane in Barangay Poblacion, Makati City.
Following the deadly mishap, Delgra said the incident is another “strong reason” to push through with the implementation of the PUV modernization program (PUVMP).
Under the PUVMP, which aims to modernize PUVs for more convenient and safer travel, the LTFRB established an academy to train drivers and operators in safety measures and etiquette while operating passenger vehicles.
“We continue to address it (errant drivers) with the Drivers Academy Program of the LTFRB. Also, the Tsuper Iskolar Program of TESDA with funds from DOTr for the PUVMP includes technical training to raise the level of competence of drivers,” Delgra said in an interview.
“The PUVMP addresses the systemic yet unsustainable, inefficient, and dangerous boundary system wherein drivers are prone to cut corners, because there is no sustainable and predictable fleet management system that monitors driver’s behavior on the road.”
The driver of the jeepney, identified as Crisalde Tamparong, 31, is now under police custody and told investigators he lost control of his brakes.
However, police officers confirmed that Tamparong confessed to using illegal drugs and also tested positive for methamphetamine based on results from the Southern Police District Crime Laboratory.
Delgra said the Board had already issued a preventive suspension order against the operator and the driver after the fatal accident.
He added that the agency already made representation with the insurance company to expedite release of insurance claims for the victims.
Meanwhile, the Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency (PAMI) has located the victims of the road crash, the LTFRB said.
Financial assistance amounting to P100,000, on top of the P100,000 insurance, was given to the family of the victim who passed away, and a financial assistance of P10,000 each will be given to the families of the seven injured victims.