Press Release
November 22, 2018


Mr. President, I would like to sponsor Senate Bill 2038 under Committee Report No. 484, increasing the penalty of overloading of passengers in public utility vehicles (PUVs). First, Mr. President, allow me to thank the Chairperson of the Committee on Public Services, Senator Grace Poe, for giving us the opportunity to hear and sponsor this important measure.

Mr. President, the World Health Organization reported that about 1.25 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes while 90% of the world's fatalities on the roads occur in low and middle-income countries. The report revealed that one of the risk factors of road fatalities is the inadequate law enforcement of traffic laws, among others.

While the leading cause of road accidents is driver error, it cannot be denied that violation of traffic rules and regulations contributes to this factor. Mr. President, isa sa mga violation na pinagwawalang-bahala ay ang overloading.

Hindi na bago sa atin makakita ng bus sa EDSA na puno nang nagsisiksikang pasahero, ang iba nakatayo na mismo malapit sa pinto. Delikado ito lalo na sa mga biyaheng probinsya at paakyat ng mga matatarik na bundok. Clearly, Mr. President, there is a gap in law enforcement because no PUV seems to be apprehended even with a clear case of overloading.

Mr. President, an overloaded vehicle is less stable and incurs additional risk for other road users. In 2014 alone, Mr. President, there were 317 cases of overloading accidents in highways. Throughout this year, road mishaps involving overloaded PUVs claim the lives of many people across the country, particularly in mountainous areas.

In September, 14 passengers of an overloaded jeepney, many of them senior citizens who were about to get their monthly pension, were killed on when their vehicle fell into the bottom of a 200-meter ravine. It appears that one of the factors for the crash was that the jeepney was overloaded.

In July, an overloaded jeepney crashed along the highway in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, leaving 7 passengers dead and 64 others injured. The helpless victims were beneficiaries of the government's Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps and were supposed to withdraw their cash assistance from a bank in Pagadian.

April last year, a minibus bound for Ilocos Sur fell into a 100-feet ravine in Nueva Ecija and claimed over 30 lives. It was then revealed that the bus was overloaded with 77 passengers when it can only carry up to 45 passengers.

October 2017, five people were killed while 29 others were injured when a passenger van figured in a crash in Cagayan. It was revealed that the van was overloaded and over-speeding .

Mr. President, ito ay nakalulungkot at nakakabahala.

Bus, jeep, van - ano mang uri ng PUVs maaaring mag-overload. Mr. President, while we acknowledge that buses and jeepneys, no matter how overloaded, remain the primary transportation for Filipinos who have no choice but to take cheap mass transportation, we have to take into account PUBLIC SAFETY.

According to the Civil Code, common carriers from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence for the safety of the passengers transported by them. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons.

Why do these violations continue when it is clear in the Land Transportation and Traffic Code that all vehicles shall only carry passengers within its registered carrying capacity. Perhaps, Mr. President, the penalties are too mild that they can just be ignored.

Mr. President, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code set a penalty of One Hundred Pesos for exceeding the registered carrying capacity. While under the Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01 of LTFRB and LTO, operators of any PUVs found to be overloading will be imposed a fine of P1,000. Mr. President, this is TOO LOW compared to the risk it poses on the road.

To ensure strict and uniform implementation of the law, we need to review and update the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Mr. President, this law is half-a-century old law enacted in 1964. Which is why, I am proposing to this Chamber the passage of Senate Bill 2038 to impose stiffer penalties against overloaded PUVs and criminalize the violation of exceeding a PUV's registered carrying capacity when it results in the death of any passenger.

For the first offense, penalty of 50,000 pesos including suspension of franchise; for the second offense, 250,000 pesos including suspension of franchise; for the third offense, 1 million pesos and revocation of franchise. In the event that fatalities are involved in an accident, those accountable for the deaths should be subjected to up to 6 years of prison correctional.

To have a clear standard of measurement, we are mandating the DOTR to determine the registered carrying capacity of a vehicle which shall include the measured weight of a motor vehicle plus the maximum allowable seating and standing capacity of the motor vehicle.

Mr. President, ang panukalang batas na ito ay para sa kaligtasan ng mga pasahero. Hindi natin dapat ipag-walang bahala ang bilang ng mga namamatay dahil sa aksidente dulot ng overloading. Panahon na para itaas ang parusa sa mga nag-ooverload na PUVs .

Mr. President, I am seeking the support of my esteemed colleagues for the passage of this measure.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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