'How much is life worth?' Advocates hope lawmakers reconsider transport safety board

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2022 12:48 PM

MMDA officers direct traffic along EDSA in Quezon City amid monsoon rainfall enhanced by Typhoon Fabian on July 22, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
MMDA officers direct traffic along EDSA in Quezon City amid monsoon rainfall enhanced by Typhoon Fabian on July 22, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — An advocacy group on Tuesday called on lawmakers to refile a bill seeking the creation of a national transportation safety board or overturn President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.’s veto of the measure.

The board was supposed to conduct inquiries and special studies on major or fatal transportation accidents and how they could be prevented. Marcos thumbed down its creation, saying it would only duplicate existing functions of some offices, cause confusion in terms of authority, and lead to "deficiency in the performance of the responsibilities."

“Sana po ma-consider na ma-override ng Kongreso ang act na ito, ang bill na ito or pwede sanang i-refile,” said Move As One Coalition convenor Roberto Siy.

(I hope Congress can consider overriding this veto or refile the bill.)

“When the veto was made, yung rason po nila ay duplicative or wasteful yung expense na ito. But let us consider po yung value of human life. Halimbawa po doon sa mga traffic collisions natin, every year, halos mga 10,000-12,000 fatalities ang nae-experience natin. How much is life worth?” he said.

(When the veto was made, their reason was that it was a duplicative or wasteful expense. But let us consider the value of human life. FOr example, in our traffic collisions natin, every year, we have almost 10,000-12,000 fatalities. How much is life worth?)

Siy said spending millions of pesos on the board's budget would be "worthwhile" if it meant saving lives. 

The body will also solve potential conflict of interest on the part of agencies investigating deadly transport accidents, he added. 

For instance, some agencies like the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Maritime Industry Authority craft transport regulations, which other agencies are tasked to implement, said Siy. 

“So when we look at yung mga root causes ng mga collisions, yung mga emergencies of transportation services, we need to look deeper into yung mga root causes, and the root causes have to do, often, with yung mga policies and regulations related to transportation,” he said.

(We need to look deeper into the root causes of collisions and emergencies in transportation services, and these root causes often have to do with policies and regulations related to transportation.) 

“Ito yung magandang objective sana po ng transportation service board. Hindi lang yung mga parties involved in collision, but also looking at how we can improve yung transportation environment with better policies and regulations po,” Siy added.

(This would have been a good objective of the transportation service board. We will not just be looking at the parties involved in collision, but also looking at how we can improve the transportation environment with better policies and regulations.)