By ARGYLL B. GEDUCOS
An enraged President Duterte has ordered a nationwide crackdown against unregistered, or colorum public utility vehicles (PUV) following the tragic bus accident which killed 19 of its passengers in Occidental Mindoro late Tuesday.
Duterte made the statement in his speech delivered in Bisaya at the 16th founding anniversary of the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development Inc. Friday evening.
Prior to giving a speech in the said event, Duterte made an unannounced visit to the crash site in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro in the afternoon with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chief Martin Delgra III, and Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go.
In his speech, Duterte revealed that he ordered the police and transport officials to arrest and conduct drug tests on all drivers and operators of unregistered PUVs, and impound their vehicles.
“I had a meeting with the Highway Patrol and the chief of police there. I told them to ‘apprehend all the colorum drivers and operators in the Philippines,'” Duterte said.
“Lock them up because I want them to experience life in jail,” he added.
The President explained that the arrest of the colorum public utility drivers and operators is valid because they are violating laws and regulations.
“When a vehicle is not registered and un-insured, and you park it in terminals, that is considered as fraud,” Duterte said, noting that the vehicles are not being maintained well by the owners.
“We got used to vans that are unregistered, uninsured, and has unmaintained engines and tires, and we do not do anything about it almost everyday,” he added.
Duterte warned that during arrests or impounding, drivers and operators better not put up violent resistance as his order against drug suspects apply to them.
“If you resist arrest and the lives of the police were in danger, my order to them was to kill you,” he said.
Delgra, in a text message, said that Duterte’s firm instruction to the LTFRB is to intensify their anti-colorum operations all across the country.
“Walang patawad (No one will be excused). If they resist, call in the HPG and the army,” Delgra recalled Duterte’s order.
Meanwhile, Duterte also said in his speech that he will “connect” all laws to lead the acts of colorum drivers and operators from fraud to homicide to “put an end to all this”.
Duterte said that the government is also to blame for the spread of colorum vehicles as law enforcers would turn a blind eye and politicians were afraid of losing elections.
“The police is inutile if it can’t put a stop to the practice,” he added.
He added that some colorum drivers who get involved in mishaps would not even be apprehended for reckless imprudence.
Duterte then said that it was now time that the government proved itself and should be responsible in protecting the people.
“I’ll say that it’s time that we give the people in cities a good government and a government that accepts responsibility,” he said.
“The deaths [from accidents] should stop. My heart bled for the victims. They died because of these sons of b*tches even if it was not yet their time,” he added.
Malacañang earlier said that if proven that government lapses caused the Dimple Star Transport bus accident, someone will surely get fired.
Duterte meanwhile said that he would not care if transport operators and drivers would stage protests against his new order, saying that the spread of colorum PUVs have already been ailing the roads for a very long time now.
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