JFC says PH needs transport safety board

Published May 19, 2022, 3:27 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) has urged Congress to expedite the ratification of the reconciled version of the Bicameral Conference Committee of Senate Bill No. 1077 and House Bill No. 9030, to pave the ways for creation of the much needed Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB).

JFC, which is composed of seven foreign business chambers – US, Japan, Canada, Australia-New Zealand, Korea, European Union, and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc., said they wrote the House and Senate leadership to expedite the passage of the bill.

According to the group, PTSB will contribute to inefficiency in the implementation of transportation-safety schemes and ineffectual safety measures will be addressed.

“This important reform bill creating the PTSB is ready for immediate passage. With the bicameral conference committee of both chambers having been convened, the JFC eagerly awaits the ratification of the reconciled version. Once ratified by both houses the bill can finally be endorsed for enactment by the president,” the JFC statement noted.

Similarly, JFC also cited the Safe Travel Alliance, International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, which joined the call for the establishment of PTSB.

For over two decades, the PTSB bill has languished in Congress. Only during the current 18th Congress has this bill reached the advanced stage in both chambers which now has solid prospects for enactment into a law.

The proposed law seeks the creation of a non-regulatory and independent agency attached to the Office of the President, to be the primary agency responsible for the conduct of impartial investigation on transportation-related accidents and incidents.

The main objectives of the Board are to improve transportation safety measures that will help in the prevention of transportation accidents and mitigation of dangers to human lives and property; and to ensure the implementation of transportation safety standards.

At present, different agencies handle different sectors of transportation with regard to accident investigations such that the CAAP has authority over aviation disasters while the Maritime Industry Authority has authority to investigate major maritime disasters. With respect to road accidents involving public utility vehicles, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has jurisdiction.

However, road accidents may also be investigated by the Philippine National Police, Land Transportation Office, and Metro Manila Development Authority. As a country that is generally dependent on inter-modal transportation systems to facilitate the movement of goods, cargo, and people to, from, and within its archipelago, institutional reforms to enhance the standards of transportation safety measures, prevent transportation accidents in the future, and mitigate dangers to human lives and property is mostly needed.

With establishment of the PTSB, the gap in bureaucracy which allegedly contributes to inefficiency in the implementation of transportation-safety schemes and ineffectual safety measures will be addressed.

PTSB’s regulatory, investigatory, and fact-finding functions will allow the agency to implement a proactive approach and be in control of situation even before it happens. As an independent and impartial transport safety body, it is tasked to coordinate all the actions of relevant public and private entities toward the common goal of ensuring transport safety.

Once enacted, the new PTSB can commence its programs to prevent the major transportation accidents causing the lives of too many Filipinos.