THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Central Visayas continues to urge all the concerning local government units in Metro Cebu to unite in addressing the issue of the road accidents involving Ceres Bus Liners.
LTO 7 stressed the Department of Transportations' position on Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-001 of DOTr, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) which states the "Guidelines and Standards for the Classification of Roads, Setting of Speed Limits Under Republic Act No. 4136, and Collection of Road Crash Data."
Under DOTr-DPWH-DILG JMC 2018-001 the relevant Sangguniang Panlungsod or Sangguniang Bayan may enact a speed limit ordinance for purposes of local enforcement.
"When necessary for the safety of road users, the City or Municipal Government may propose speed limits for National Roads lower than those provided," read the JMC 2018-001.
Under Republic Act 4136, all national roads with passenger cars, motorcycles, and similar vehicles shall have an allowable speed limit of 80 kph for the open road; 40 kph for through street; and 20 kph for the crowded street.
While motor trucks, buses, and similar vehicles shall have an allowable speed limit of 50 kph for the open road; 30 kph for through street, and 20 kph for the crowded street.
Likewise, all Provincial, Municipal, City, and Barangay roads are mandated to classify their roads to set the appropriate speed limits.
"Speeding is the most important contributor to road fatalities and is at the core of the road injury as it both crash risk and crash severity. The setting and strong enforcement of speed limits are one of the most effective interventions in significantly reducing road crashes and road crash fatalities and injuries... The participation of local government units is vital in improving the level of speed limit enforcement in the Philippines," read the JMC 2018-001.
Under the said memorandum all City and Municipal Governments shall identify roads and stretches of roads that may be considered as "crowded streets."
Based on the initial findings of LTO 7 on the series of accidents in Cebu, "reports do not indicate any defect in the structural integrity of the buses, they are presumed to be road-worthy at the time of these incidents."
LTO 7 was invited by the Chairman of the Committee on Transportation of the House of Representatives, Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento on the Motu Propio Inquiry on the recent bus accidents in the Province of Cebu.
The said hearing took place last Wednesday, November 4 which was attended by LTO 7 regional director Victor Emmanuel Caindec.
Caindec said that regulatory oversight over public transportation belongs to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) wherein the said agency has the primary power and function to conduct investigations and hearings of complaints about violation of the public service laws on land transportation.
"LTO intervenes only to adjudicate over contests involving the findings of the PNP. We respectfully submit that the primary investigating agency is not the LTO nor does it exercise primary responsibility in the investigation of road mishaps," read a portion of RD Caindec's reply on the motu propio inquiry.
Caindec added that LTO 7 remains to be an active partner with the agencies concerned in the implementation of relevant traffic laws and road safety measures.
Based on LTO 7's observations, one of the factors which highly influenced and contributed to the risk of road accidents is when vehicles and non-motorized transport are allowed to co-exist simultaneously.
LTO 7 also observed that it is risky for big buses and trucks that are not designed to traverse small roads are being allowed to do so.
Furthermore, the agency observed that non-observance of speed limits imposed by LGUs, congestion of roads by buses, bicycle, and motorcycles, lack of bike lanes implementation, and lack of stricter implementation of designated bus stops are the factors of the road accidents.
LTO 7 hereby concludes that a cohesive structure of how the roads are to be allocated within the various LGUs in Metro Cebu and to harmonize these policies across all the LGUs in Cebu is needed.
The agency also revealed that currently, there are no existing policies that address the said concerns.
Likewise, LTO 7 added that they have always actively been at the forefront of implementing the Land Transportation Office's Road Safety Action Plan./PR