The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) in the Philippines, composed of seven foreign business groups, joined the Safe Travel Alliance and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in expressing their disappointment over the veto by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. of enrolled House Bill 9030/Senate Bill 1077 that would have created the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB).
In a statement Thursday, August 11, JFC noted that different agencies handle different sectors of transportation with regard to accident investigations. However, the groups said there are limitations on the ability of the investigating agencies to delve deeper and find forensic evidence on the real cause of the accidents or by witnesses of the accidents.
Because most of these agencies are also tasked to regulate and/or operate the sector, there is an inherent conflict of interest in the performance of their duties as an investigating body.
The vetoed bill proposed 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 and science-based investigation on transportation-related accidents and incidents.
The main objectives of the PTSB are: (a) to improve transportation safety measures to help prevent transportation accidents and mitigate of dangers to human lives and property; and (b) to upgrade transportation safety standards and create implementing rules to prevent accidents and incidents based on factual scientific findings of past accidents and/or incidents.
The JFC explained that as an independent and impartial transport safety body following the example of various countries, the PTSB would have addressed regulatory gaps in the transport safety bureaucracy, facilitated the enhancement of transportation safety measures and standards, and coordinated all the actions of relevant public and private entities toward the common goal of ensuring transport safety. The bill creating the PTSB failed to progress in Congress for over two decades.
Only in the 18th Congress did this important reform reach the most advanced stage in both chambers and the president’s desk.
The groups repeatedly expressed support for the creation of the PTSB in the 18th Congress, including through letters sent to relevant Cabinet secretaries, and the groups remain committed to pursuing enactment of the bill in the 19th Congress.
The statement was approved by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, International Air Transport Association Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc., and Safe Travel Alliance.