Editorial: ‘Not the last bus to kill people’

·2 min read

THREE road accidents in a span of five days:

[1] An ambulance rammed a bus on Oct. 25, injuring nine people, including the drivers of the two vehicles, at the junction of Gen. Maxilom Ave. and de Veyra St. in Carreta, Cebu City.

[2] A bus struck a bicycle on Oct. 29 in Mandaue City, killing its rider.

[3] A bus hit another bicycle on Oct. 30 in Pitogo, Consolacion, also killing its rider.

The common element -- other than the road being the site and a bus is involved in all three accidents -- is that the presumably erring vehicles are all Ceres buses operated by Vallacar Transit Inc.

Social media comments couldn’t resist to play on the name Ceres with the title of the 2004 black comedy “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” based on the Lemony Snicket’s book about a cousin played by Jim Carrey plotting to steal the fortune of three orphaned children. They called the bus mishaps a Ceres of unfortunate events.

Unfortunate, yes, but officials of government agencies whose functions concern transportation were quick with their response.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LFTRB) 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. last Oct. 31 announced drug tests on drivers and refresher courses on defensive driving. Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Victor Caindec went beyond the usual defensive answer. In a Facebook post, Caindec pressed on the offensive by listing down reasons for the recent rash of accidents – and blaming local government unit (LGU) officials. With the dire warning that it won’t be the last time a bus will kill people.

Indirectly, Caindec castigated local government leaders for (a) allowing vehicles and non-motorized transport to “co-exist in our kind of roads;” (b) allowing buses and trucks to traverse on small roads; (c) tolerating speed limits that, he said, “nobody follows;” (d) having the streets congested with buses, which took the place of jeepneys, and bicycles and scooters, along with motorcycles; (e) not regulating bike lanes that are being used instead as space for car wash or repair; and (f) poor road policies.

Apparently, no one is coordinating what LTO and LTFRB do with what LGUs ought to do. But smart people abound: “Daghan kama-o,” he said, and when one speaks out on social media, “sakyan dayon sa tanan,” never mind if it doesn’t follow the law. “What are we now, ANARCHY? Ug unsay tingog nga dako og saba, mao na lang masunod?”

Caindec titled his post “This has to stop!” He doesn’t specify which must be stopped first: the road accidents or the blame-throwing. And he himself doesn’t speak quietly, not without heat or noise.