This is something that, at first glance, appears unusual. But for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), this has become the usual thing resorted to. And we mean when one unit of a transportation company is involved in a deadly accident due either to human error or unit maintenance inadequacy, operation of all other units under the franchise issued to the transport operator is suspended.
There is no question that at one time or another one or two drivers of a transport company may be negligent in their responsibilities. It is also beyond arguing that the involvement of some units of a public transport firm in accidents is traceable to complacency of the management in treating issue of vehicle maintenance as utmost in such kind of business.
But why stop the operation of all the other units just because one driver is infidel in his job of transporting people to their respective destinations safely? Why deny other drivers, conductors and other company employees their right to earn a decent living just to sanction a transport firm a driver of which happened to be reckless, or its management disregarding safety of the commuters by taking fleet maintenance for granted?If several public utility buses of a transport company have been plying routes beyond what is authorized by its franchise, why not the LTFRB just impound the vehicles used to ply the destinations not included on its franchise?
The latest the LTFRB did this coercive power was its action on a bus company that had some of its buses ply the Nabunturan-Veruela route. One of its buses smashed with another passenger bus belonging to another liner last February. It led to the death of some of the passengers of the former transport firm.
The LTFRB immediately suspended the operation of the entire fleet supposedly for one month. Since then there was no clear update as to what happened. We can only assume that the bus company has already complied with all the requirements in the sanction imposed by the transport regulator.
So, what happened during the days that the drivers and other employees of the bus firm when its operations were suspended? How did they live while having no income? Did their employer give them cash advance enough to tie them over for the one month suspension?
We believe really that the non-erring drivers and other transport employees should not be made to suffer for the possible negligence of the driver involved in the accident, or for the irresponsibility of management in ensuring A-1 maintenance of all the company’s units.
Even at this stage of the government’s Manila Bay Rehabilitation project the initial result – a beach front almost totally free of garbage and other water borne debris — is getting favorable reviews from the public. Even foreigners frequenting the bay area find the place amazingly clean.
This open appreciation by the public alone is enough reason for the people behind the rehabilitation project to persevere more even if they have to risk being at odds with powerful business and personal interests.
But it now appears that President Rodrigo Duterte’s political will has rubbed in on the people hoping to restore the famous Manila Bay to its former status — an iconic viewing spot of a beautiful sunset.
The near garbage-free beach front of Manila Bay however, does not mean the waters are clean as well.
Health and environment authorities are emphatic in their reminder that the waters are far from safe for bathing and swimming. The presence of harmful bacteria from human, animal and toxic waste from industrial plants and commercial establishments remain exceedingly high.
Of course it is not only the Manila Bay that is in need of rehabilitation or massive clean-up. Right here in Davao City we have beaches that are being pumped with millions of harmful bacteria from the dirty waters of the city’s main rivers and waterways.
Yes, the waters of the city’s main rivers and waterways are dirty as effluents from drainage pipes and canals are emptied into it. And where does the river waters go but to the sea shore. And take a highly observant look at Davao City’s beach front areas. These are now thickly populated with informal settlers.
Others are sites of business establishments like low-cost resorts, eateries, motels and inns all disposing waste direct to the beach.
This situation must be a cause for serious concern of the local and national officials. Even at this time we can already see a possible scenario of the kind of beach waters the city will have in the very near future — a Manila Bay right here in Davao Bay.
But shoreline residents can work together to prevent a Manila Bay in Davao if they really desire to do so. And apparently, the people in Barangay Lapulapu in Agdao district is picking up the challenge. They are making their beach area clean and converting their residual waste into museum items. These are now on display inside the barangay-run waste museum.
May be officials and residents of other shoreline barangays can follow barangay Lapulapu’s lead. The first step is for them to go and visit the waste museum.