Families, survivors of GV Florida bus crash renew call for justice
“It has been more than a month now since the fatal bus crash in Bontoc, Mountain Province. Our greatest fear is that the government agencies concerned only act under the duress of media scrutiny,” the group said in a press statement.
“We appeal to the public for continued vigilance, to maintain the pressure on the LTFRB... GV Florida Lines must be made fully accountable for this senseless loss of lives,” the group added.
On February 7, a bus belonging to GV Florida fell into a deep ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province, claiming the lives of 15 people. The incident also left 32 others injured.
A day after the crash, the LTFRB imposed a 30-day suspension on the bus firm's fleet and confiscated the plate numbers of more than 50 of its buses. But LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said heavier penalties may be imposed against the company, such as the possible filing of charges and the revocation of its franchise.
Among the violations of the ill-fated bus earlier found by the LTFRB were its use of a plate number belonging to a bus from another company, Mt. Province Cable and Tours; tampered chassis and engine numbers; and plying the Manila to Bontoc route without franchise. During a hearing of the LTFRB, it was also revealed that one of the bus' two drivers did not undergo professional training.
“The gross negligence and utter disregard for the safety of others so commonly exhibited today by the drivers and operators of buses and similar vehicles is appalling,” the survivors and families of the victims said.
The group also formed a movement, Bantay Lakbay, “to push for justice and reforms in the Philippine transport system.”
“If laws continue to be flouted, if calls for permanent reforms remain unheeded, if the LTRFB continues to cast a blind eye on practices that sacrifice safety over profit, if reckless driving amongst undisciplined drivers is constantly tolerated—nothing will put an end to the neglected hit-and-run incidents, and jeeps and buses will continue to fall off ravines and Skyways,” the group said.
Meanwhile, according to a report in the Philippine Star, LTFRB executive director Roberto Cabrera said the board will release the results of its investigation on the crash on March 19, Wednesday next week. The agency had previously stated that it would release the results of its investigation this week. — Elizabeth Marcelo/BM, GMA News