THE vice chairman of the Senate committee on public services said stiffer penalties should be imposed on bus companies that overload their vehicles after an overloaded Leomarick bus fell into a ravine in Nueva Ecija, killing 32 people and injuring 46 others on Tuesday.
Senator JV Ejercito said the Nueva Ecija bus accident was so tragic that major steps should be taken to revamp regulations on land transportation.
“Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code is an outdated law which needs to be reviewed. We were able to pass the Speed Limiter Act during the 16th Congress, I think it is high time to pass an amendment with respect to the violation of the prescribed maximum capacity of public utility vehicles,” the senator said.
He noted that the law was enacted in June 1964, and its corresponding terms and conditions issued by the LTFRB do not provide for a penalty which corresponds to the possible damage to its passengers.
“What we need are stiffer penalties for overloading. Right now, our law only prescribes for P2,000 to P3,000 and suspension of the certificate of public convenience for first and second offense, respectively,” he said.
Ejercito said that while the nation is grieving with those who lost their loved ones in the accident, the Senate will take steps in ensuring that accidents like these are prevented from happening again.
Health officials in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija said survivors of the bus crash are still trying to cope with the tragedy and trauma.
Letty Puguon, acting administrative officer of the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital in Bambang town, said 16 victims were declared dead on arrival Tuesday.
She said nine victims came from Nueva Vizcaya, two were from Nueva Ecija, three were from Isabela and two were still unidentified.
“We are calling the assistance and help of benevolent individuals and groups to share their resources in any form such as food and other needs of the patients,” she said, referring to the survivors.
Puguon said most of the patients suffered concussions, hematoma and bruises in the different parts of their body due to the bus accident.
“They also need psychological, psychosocial and spiritual services from our religious sector and from those experts in stress debriefing situations,” she said.