Buses in the Philippines: Terror rides?

3 trips with tragic endings
Aug 24, 2010

The spate of fatal incidents involving buses in less than a week is uncanny but they have already happened and the least authorities could do is to prevent them from happening with a set of appropriate laws ranging from road safety to hostage negotiations. We don't want to go into gory details but here are just some examples of how a seemingly harmless bus ride can lead to tragic endings.

Hostage-taking in Manila. This is hogging the headlines not just in the Philippines but around the world: A bus packed with Hong Kong nationals reportedly set to visit historical sites in Manila was hijacked by former police captain Rolando Mendoza, who was demanding to get his job back. Reports said nine were released by the hostage-taker within the first few hours of the crisis; at the end of the 12-hour seige, 6 survived while seven were reportedly dead. After this incident and the release of travel advisories against visiting the Philippines, it may be quite some time before we see another tourist bus filled with foreign guests. Here's a clip uploaded by RussiaToday on YouTube:

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Head-on collision in Camarines Sur. Just last weekend, Bb. Pilipinas International 2009 Melody Gerbasch and two others were killed when a bus crashed head-on their Toyota Innova. Reports said the bus was overtaking a motorcycle and failed to return to its proper lane. (YouTube video uploaded by iamdwyanecardiff)

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Bus crash in Benguet. About 40 people perished when a La Union-bound bus from Baguio City fell into a 100-foot deep ravine off Naguilian Road last week. Reports said initial investigation point errors on both the driver and the vehicle. The driver was allegedly driving at high speed and "failed to shift gear due to a 'mechanical defect'" on the bus. (YouTube video uploaded by PINASISM)

Public transport commuters in the Philippines don't have it easy. Other countries in Southeast Asia are already enjoying convenient modes of mass transportation, but many Filipinos have to endure endless traffic jams while risking their lives during the ride. With what we've seen in a span of six days, foreign nationals and even Filipinos may now have second thoughts about riding a bus. Do you think these incidents could be avoided in the future? Feel free to rant using our comment box below.

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