Bill creating transport safety board only needs Duterte’s signature

Sen. Grace Poe. STORY: Bill creating transport safety board only needs Duterte’s signature

Sen. Grace Poe says the real winners in creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board will be the commuters. (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to establish the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) is now only awaiting the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

On Wednesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives separately ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1077 and House Bill No. 9030.

“If signed into law, this will be an important milestone for this Congress. But the real winners here are the commuters,” Poe, who led the Senate contingent in the bicam panel, said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.

“I cannot thank enough both the Senate and House panels for prioritizing the overwhelming need of the many,” she added.

Under the bill, the PTSB will be an independent investigatory agency and the primary government body to investigate all significant transportation accidents or incidents.

According to Poe, the board will be required in every investigation to make a report of their factual findings and their conclusions and recommendations.

According to the reconciled bill, the contents of the “factual accident report” will be “binding on all government agencies and shall be taken judicial notice by the courts.”

The board accident report will only be admissible in administrative cases.

The Senate and House conferees in the bicam agreed to give the PTSB a more proactive role as a “standard-setting agency tasked with evaluating and developing evidence-based safety standards that are at par with international standards,” Poe said.

She added that the lawmakers agreed to maintain a seven-member board composed of a chairperson and representatives from the land, rail, air, and sea transportation sectors, with two representatives coming from the commuting public.

“This will ensure that, aside from experts, commuters will also be given a voice in making decisions to strengthen transportation safety in our country,” Poe said.

The final version of the bill also adopted a provision prohibiting members of the PTSB and employees from holding any other office or employment and engaging in a profession or in the active management of a business that may be affected by their functions.

“PTSB has a crucial and life-saving mandate, and thus the integrity of its Board and employees should not in any way be jeopardized or compromised,” Poe said.

The bill is long overdue and timely, she said, citing the 483 maritime accidents recorded from 2016 to 2020.

Meanwhile, an average of 12,487 deaths due to road crashes are recorded every year during the same period, according to Poe.

“We really need an agency that will investigate such accidents and will come up with measures to prevent these from happening again,” she stressed.


Poe pins high hopes on transport safety board