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Bill creating PNTSB pushed

A House leader yesterday urged Congress to pass a bill seeking the creation of the Philippine National Transportation and Safety Board following the Leomarick Trans bus tragedy in Nueva Ecija that killed 32 people Tuesday.

House Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia said there is a need to create an independent body that would conduct thorough and impartial investigation of transportation-related accidents.

“I have, in fact, already filed a bill that seeks to create an NTSB. I think it’s incumbent upon Congress to act on the creation of such a body,” she said in a text message.

She expressed concern that the number of transportation- related accidents is increasing every year.

“It is necessary to have an independent body that will provide safety measures and recommendations to ensure the safety of traveling public,” Garcia said.

She noted that developed countries, like the United States, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, and other European countries, have created independent and separate bodies that handle civil transportation accident probes in their respective countries.

Garcia is seeking the passage of House Bill 5042 that calls for the creation of a five-man PNTSB which shall be directly under the Office of the President.

“The PNTSB will be an independent and non-regulatory agency primarily responsible for the analysis, evaluation, and prevention of air, overland, and marine transportation accidents, to include railway and pipeline systems,” she said.

The PNTSB shall conduct complete and effective accident probe, recommend and advocate actions to improve transportation safety and mitigate dangers to human lives and property, draw up safety standards in the transportation in the transportation industry and ensure its implementation, and ensure timely and commensurate assistance to survivors and families of victims of transportation accidents. (Charissa M. Luci)