Poe seeks national board to probe transport accidents

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2017 01:35 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2017 03:45 PM

MANILA - Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday renewed her pitch for the creation of a national board that will focus on investigating recurring and tragic transportation accidents.

Poe authored a bill seeking to establish a National Transport Safety Board, whose sole mandate was to probe recurring accidents or accidents of tragic proportions in the roads, seas, or rails.

"'Pag merong ganito...pwede ring mag-conduct ng investigation, may sariling financial capability yung grupo para matunton talaga nila yung imbestigasyon, hindi tayo dumedepende sa Kongreso o sa Korte lamang na gumawa ng imbestigasyon dahil nakita nga natin na napaka-tagal ng prosesong yan," she said in an interview with radio DZMM.

(With this, the group can also conduct investigation with its own financial capability and need not depend on Congress or the Court because as we have seen, it's a long process.)

Poe suggested that the body, to be composed of seven members, will be mandated to submit quarterly reports to the President and the Congress on the status of the transportation system. 

However, the board shall not have "quasi-judicial powers," hence would not be able to impose sanctions on the delinquents they would find in their investigation.

Poe said transportation accidents will be put into "spotlight" and will not compete for other probing bodies' attention. 

"At least, merong isang sangay ng gobyerno na yun lang trabaho, tututukan talaga ang mga imbestigasyon nito pagdating sa mga transportation accidents at hindi na naka-depende lamang sa report ng PNP or report ng iba na alam naman natin ay marami pang ibang iniintindi," she said.

(At least there is a government agency whose sole job is to focus on the investigation when it comes to transportation accidents and who doesn't depend on the police or the reports of others who we know is supervising many different things.)

Poe said she knows of no similar bill being floated in the House of Representatives, but was positive that her proposed measure will be approved, with the government's increasing budget allocations.

"Sa ngayon nga, ang gobyerno natin tumataas na talaga ang budget, marami tayong pwedeng pagkunan ng pondo para sa ganitong uri ng organisasyon sa gobyerno. Yun lang, prayoridad dapat na gawin na ito. Napakatagal na nito," she said.

(Today, with our government increasing its budget, we can get funds for an organization like this. But then, it has to be prioritized. This has long been pending.)