Manila, Philippines – The Metro Manila Development Authority is pushing for a drastic intervention to address the increasing number of road accidents involving public utility buses.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino is proposing stricter requirements for the grant of license to public utility bus drivers. The proposed additional requirements include TESDA training and psychiatric evaluation.
No one can argue against the merit of the MMDA proposal. Indeed, it is time for us, especially the concerned government agencies, to accept the reality that the current licensing system does not guarantee the fitness of the persons who are issued licenses to drive particularly public utility vehicles.
The proposal is somewhat controversial because MMDA Chairman Tolentino wants a one-month grace period only for public utility bus drivers to secure their licenses under the proposed system.
The Department of Transportation and Communications, particularly the Land Transportation Office, will have to determine the viability of the one-month grace period proposed by MMDA. Can TESDA, for example, handle the training of the estimated 10,000 bus drivers in Metro Manila in one month?
The grace period or timetable of the implementation can be adjusted. At the very least, the “drastic” timetable proposed MMDA serves the purpose of underscoring the urgency of the need to act on the road accident problem in Metro Manila.
But we hope that the MMDA, DOTC and LTO will go beyond the interventions on the technical capabilities and mental fitness of public utility bus drivers.
In terms of intervention coverage, the concerned government agencies should also target the drivers of other public utility vehicles and even of private vehicles, especially motorcycles.
Likewise, there should be “drastic” interventions that will deal with the discipline problem of drivers. In this respect, the concerned government agencies should specifically address the problem on the weak implementation of our traffic rules and regulations.
We indeed need drastic measures to address the problems on vehicular accidents and even vehicular traffic in Metro Manila. Unless things change, we will continue to senselessly lose lives.