LTFRB 7 orders 300 bus drivers to undergo drug, driving tests

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A TOTAL of 300 Ceres bus drivers assigned in the Cebu North Bus Terminal will undergo a drug test and take a driving test following the spate of fatal road accidents involving Ceres buses.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said drivers who fail both tests that will be conducted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 will be barred from driving public utility vehicles. Those who pass will have to undergo a refreshment training on defensive driving, which the LTFRB 7 will conduct, he said.

However, Montealto said they still have to finalize the schedule for the tests and their coordination with other concerned agencies, such as the LTO 7.

He said they will meet with representatives of Vallacar Transit Inc., operator of Ceres buses, and the three bus drivers involved in road accidents next week.

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, he said they will discuss the accident involving a private ambulance on Sunday, Oct. 25.

The following day, he said they will discuss the accident involving a bicycle on Thursday, Oct. 29, and another accident also involving a bicycle on Friday, Oct. 30, both of which resulted in the death of two cyclists.

“We’re going to ask the operator to explain why Vallacar Transit’s CPC (certificate of public convenience) shouldn’t be canceled. We will also discuss the financial assistance the bus company will extend to the victims,” Montealto said in Cebuano.

He said show-cause orders have already been issued to the operator, adding that the drivers of the three buses have been suspended for 30 days.

On Friday morning, 58-year-old Donato Rosales was cycling home when he was run over by a Ceres bus in Barangay Pitogo, Consolacion town.

Cpl. Cresencio Saladaga Jr., an investigator of Consolacion’s traffic police unit, said the bus driver, identified as Danny Boy Reponte, has been detained and is facing an investigation.

Saladaga said Reponte told investigators he was traveling in the same direction as Rosales.

Reponte claimed Rosales tried to overtake the vehicle in front of him, but the handlebars of the latter’s bicycle got caught in the bus. This caused him and his bicycle to lose balance and fall to the side.

Rosales and his bicycle were crushed by the weight of the bus, killing the victim instantly.

“By the time the driver stepped on the brakes, it was already too late. The victim and his bicycle were already caught by the wheels,” Saladaga said in Cebuano.

Saladaga said they hope to secure footage of the accident from the security camera in the area and the bus’ dashcam to help build their case.

He said aside from the driver, there were no other witnesses.

Police plan to file charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide against Reponte.

Another cyclist, a security guard from the northern town of Borbon, was also killed when a Ceres bus hit him in Mandaue City on Thursday, Oct. 29. (WBS, GPL / JKV)