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Grounded buses

  • Davao Metro Shuttle units suspended

The Regional Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has suspended all the 34 bus units of the Davao Metro Shuttle Corp. after one of its buses figured in a collision in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley that killed seven persons and injured 30 others on Monday.
LTFRB Regional Director Cattleya Acaylar issued a three-page show cause order with preventive suspension against the agency, grounding all the Metro Shuttle public utility buses (PUBs) for 30 days.
Acaylar said the company incurred several “apparent violations”, including breach of franchise conditions and out-of-line operations.
“Our record showed that the authorized route for the Metro Shuttle is Davao City to Tagum City (Davao del Norte). It was out of line. In the first place, it should not be there because it was operating beyond its authority,” she added.
The respondent was also directed to “show cause in writing within 72 hours from receipt” of the order why its Certificate of Public Convenience should not be suspended, cancelled and/or revoked for violation of the terms and conditions of its franchise.
The LTFRB also ordered the Metro Shuttle to surrender the plates of all the suspended PUBs to the legal section of the Board.
Within the 30-day suspension period, the Metro Shuttle operator should comply with the inspection and determination of road worthiness of its authorized buses. The operator should bring the units to the Motor Vehicle Inspection Service (MVIS) of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) together with the authorized representatives of LTFRB.
The Metro Shuttle is also directed to undergo road safety seminar and compulsory drug testing of its drivers and conductors. It is also required to submit to the LTFRB the certificates of registration and latest LTO official receipts, the video clippings of the road worthiness inspection, road safety seminar and drug testing, system of hiring and supervision of the authorized drivers and conductors, proof of payment from its insurance company and other clearances (National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police and barangay).
Acaylar also ordered the LTFRB 11’s Transport Inspectors, Enforcement Division of the Land Transportation Office, Traffic Management Group of the police, and other enforcement agencies to apprehend and impound any bus owned by the respondent found operating during the period of suspension.
The agency faulted the Metro Bus unit (plate number LXA-731) in the accident that happened along Km. 92 in Barangay Magsaysay, Nabunturan on Monday.
The involved bus, according to the LTFRB is “not roadworthy.”
“Based on the preliminary investigation of the LTFRB, the right front tire of the bus exploded causing it to encroach to the other side of the road,” Acaylar told Times.
It resulted to a head-on collision with a Bachelor Express bus travelling on the opposite lane.
The Metro Shuttle was bound to Veruela, Agusan del Sur from Tagum City while the Bachelor Bus was heading towards Tagum City from New Bataan, Compostela Valley.
Acaylar said they also issued a show cause order to the Bachelor Express.
Police Regional Office 11 director Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales has also ordered further investigation into the road crash.
“We cannot predict accidents but we can also avoid it. If it’s human error, or if there are lapses from the management due to poor maintenance of the vehicle, we will let the management answer and be accountable for that,” Morales said.
Morales told bus operators to ensure their vehicles are in good condition.
Sr. Supt. Arnie Palomo, the director of the Compostela Valley Police Provincial Office (CVPPO), identified the fatalities as Jerome Uyanguren, 40; Francasio Cabellida, 65; Elsa Salarda Acedilla;  Teddy Nher Garcia, 35; Mary Grace Balbuena, 26; Janet Vicente, 35; and Metro Shuttle driver Hamber Khen Despi.
Balbuena and Vicente were said to be pregnant.
Seven of the wounded passengers were minors. (with Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)

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