By Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito

Mr. President and distinguished colleagues:

This afternoon, it is my privilege to sponsor a measure that advances the right of commuters toward a safer road and safer means of public transport. I speak today for our fellow Filipinos who use our public utility vehicles as their primary means of traveling, and whose lives may be at risk if we do not bring immediate solution and discipline on our roads. 

Mr. President, today I am pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2999 under Committee Report No. 287, which mandates the installation of a Speed Limiter in every public utility bus. This is in substitution of Senate Bill No. 2110 authored by yours truly and Senate Bill No. 1133 by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, taking into consideration Senate Resolution No. 445 and House Bill No. 5911.

This measure is a grave reminder to all of us that there is another road killer on the loose – the Public Utility Buses – aside from the fatal effects of heavy traffic we experienced everyday in Metro Manila.

Road accidents have increased in the past years. In 2013, the Philippine National Police recorded a total of 12,875 accidents. In 2014, it ballooned to 15,572; and in 2015, just for the months of January to July, our police has already recorded 13,366 accidents on the roads. In the same report, over speeding is identified as one of the causes of these accidents.

A study conducted by the UP National Center for Transport Studies (UP-NCTS) in 2014 on the speed control of public utility buses (PUB) reveal that bus riders are considered to be exposed to most risk. The study gives emphasis to the fact that a bus is 6 times more at risk than a car, and 5 times more than a jeepney. 

It is with deep sorrow that I need to remind this honorable chamber of the Valisno, Don Mariano and GV Florida bus accidents, which claimed lives and caused injuries to people and damages to property. These accidents prompted yours truly to file the Speed Limiter Bill. 

The series of bus accidents and the aforementioned data tell us that road signs and speed reminders are being ignored in exchange for the passengers’ safety. In addition to such negligence, crucial factor is the slack enforcement and implementation of traffic rules. What better way to fix these gaps than to impose a solution which will leave the operators and the regulating agencies no choice but to implement what the law mandates, the mandatory installation of speed limiter.

The study on speed control of buses conducted by UP-NCTS supports this proposed legislation. They cited in-vehicle device such as the speed limiter as one of the speed control options to regulate speed, thus, curbing the fatalities on the roads. The same study also attests to its success in terms of the effectiveness and compliance in countries adopting such method. In terms of ease of regulation, the device itself is a regulatory device because of the manner it is designed to operate.

As recommended also by the UP-NCTS, this Speed Limiter Bill recommends a maximum of 60 kph speed limit for buses plying EDSA, and 80 kph to those traversing expressways.

Once the Speed Limiter Bill is enacted into law, there will be an accreditation to ensure that for every speed limiter that will be installed in buses, acceptable international standards and precise specifications are met. Any person who will tamper installed speed limiter or failed to comply with the mandatory installation shall be punished by imprisonment and/or fines.

Mr. President and dear colleagues, we have long been shocked by news reports of over speeding buses and families instantly losing their loved-ones due to freak accidents.

This Speed Limiter Bill is our solution to eliminate killer buses. Let us not wait for another bus accident for us to act on this. 

I appeal to this honorable body to support the passage of this bill.

Maraming salamat po!