GOVERNMENT data show that an average of 34 Filipinos are killed daily in road accidents, alarming lawmakers at a congressional hearing who tried to offer solutions to the problem.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, head of the House committee on transportation, said road accidents could be avoided if drivers were screened properly, vehicles were inspected and the laws were strictly enforced.
“Do we really value the lives of our people or are we treating them as mere death statistics?”, Sarmiento said.
Philippine National Police data presented before the panel showed that road accidents were caused by human error, mechanical defects and faulty roads.
Sarmiento said the Land Transportation Office should not register a motor vehicle if it fails a roadworthiness test.
“The purpose of registration is identification and inspection, and that is why we have this motor vehicle inspection report,” Sarmiento said. “Basically, the objective of having the motor vehicle inspected before it is registered is to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy.
“In short, if the vehicles are roadworthy and the driver is issued a license to drive, then maybe we will not be witnesses daily to accidents happening on the roads. How come we have these daily road crashes leading to thousands of deaths?”
Sarmiento said the LTO should issue driver’s licenses only to deserving applicants.
The LTO’s Chief Assistant Secretary, Edgar Galvante, said there was a need to strengthen the procedures on the grant of licenses. He said it was too easy to secure a driver’s license.
“We find it disturbing because there is no sufficient time to develop driving skills to become a professional driver,” Galvante said.
He said they were now in the process of reviewing the system—including the written and practical examinations given to license applicants.