Solon bats for approval of Magna Carta of Commuters following bus fire tragedy

Published January 4, 2021, 9:31 PM

by Ben Rosario

The bus fire that resulted in the death of two persons and injuries to five others underscored the need for the immediate passage of the Magna Carta of Commuters bill that seeks to define the rights and duties of commuters using public utility vehicles.

DUMPER-PTDA Partylist Rep. Claudine Diana D. Bautista

DUMPER-PTDA Partylist Rep. Claudine Diana D. Bautista aired this opinion as she batted for the approval of House Bill 59923 or the Magna Carta of Commuters Act now pending before the House Committee on Transportation, of which she is a vice chairperson.

Bautista lauded firefighters in Quezon City for responding swiftly to the fire that engulfed an air-conditioned bus that was traversing Commonwealth Avenue in Fairview, Quezon City on Sunday, Jan. 3.

She also lauded people who had the presence of mind to rescue passengers who were trapped inside the burning bus.

“I hope police arson probers will be able to get to the bottom of this incident. The public has the right to know what really happened for them to be able to take steps in avoiding such unfortunate incident from befalling them,” said Bautista.

However, the lady lawmaker said that what is of equal importance is for Congress to immediately act on legislative proposals that will protect and secure commuters while on board PUVs.

She cited HB 5992 that mandates the state “to take all steps to ensure that the rights of the commuter” are fully enjoyed and that they are given ample protection inside PUVs.

Under the bill authored by Bautista, a commuter should be assured the four rights which are the following: right to safety; right to sanitary transport services; right to special attention during service breakdowns, and right to information for efficient and convenient travel.

HB 5992 specifies that persons inside a PUV are prohibited from eating and from standing up while the vehicle is in motion.

A full refund of paid fare will also be given in case of service breakdown or deficiencies in providing transport services.

Bautista said drivers and operators of a PUV are duty-bound to stop the vehicle to load and unload passengers. They are also prohibited from overloading the vehicle and stop only at designated loading and unloading areas.

“Another important provision is the guarantee that PUVs plying their routes are roadworthy.  

Also, the operator and driver must ensure safety and convenience to the riding public,” stressed the partylist lawmaker.