With public-utility-vehicle drivers and operators set to receive an additional P200 million in subsidies from the government in light of the rising cost of fuel, a lawmaker is calling on them to reciprocate by diligently maintaining their vehicles to ensure the safety of their passengers.
"Proper vehicle maintenance should be a prerequisite for securing a franchise to operate a public-transport system. Public-transport operators have the utmost obligation to protect the safety of their passengers," said Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas. Trenas also serves as the chairperson for the House committee on good government and public accountability.
Stressing that safety is a very serious factor in public transport, the lawmakers said government regulatory agencies should strictly conduct regular inspections on how buses, taxis and other public-utility vehicles are maintained.
According to Trenas, public-utility-transport operators have been negligent in ensuring the safety of their vehicles as they bemoaned the skyrocketing price of fuel. Trenas also noted the rampant use of recapped or secondhand tires and spare parts, which only exposes the riding public to graver risks.
"It's the ultimate responsibility of the operators to ensure the safety of their passengers," Trenas added. "Maybe it's about time that we also look into the maintenance problem of public utilities like buses and jeepneys. Vehicular accidents are on the rise resulting in the loss of lives and damage to property."