SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Three more lawmakers have filed a bill establishing National Transportation and Safety Board (NSTB), an independent and non-regulatory agency mandated to determine the probable cause of transportation related accidents on land, sea and air including railway and pipeline systems.
House Bill 3089, authored by Reps. Irwin Tieng, Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr., and Jose Lito Atienza, Jr. (Party-list, Buhay), aims to effectively investigate transportation accidents, assembling the broad spectrum of technical expertise that is needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.
Tieng said studying accidents best illuminates the path to improve transportation safety. Mostly, an accident is simply a failure to detect a pre-existing problem. Incidents reveal systematic weakness and operational deficiencies, usually long before lives are lost, he added.
"Recently, one of the biggest challenges of this country is the occurrence of various transportation accidents from highway to air and sea. It is alarming to know however, that this growing problem remains unresolved," Tieng said.
Tieng said oftentimes, the agencies tasked to investigate these accidents are being mugged with a lot of criticisms due to their failure to resolve the incident cases.
"The existence of conflict of interest cannot be denied as they are the same agencies that regulate the different transport systems in the country. To allow them to investigate accidents that could be a result of their own negligence could negate the purpose to formulate an accurate and correct finding," Tieng said.
Under the measure to be known as the "National Transportation Safety Board Act of 2013," the Board shall conduct a thorough accident and incident investigations and determine the probable cause or causes thereof and prevent future accidents, save lives and reduce injuries and property damages.
The NTSB is also directed to ensure that survivors and families of victims of transportation accidents receive timely and adequate assistance from the operators and other government agencies and ensure implementation of safety standards in the transportation industry.
The board shall be composed of five full time members, including a chairman and a vice-chairman. The members of the board shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines for a term of six years. Of those first appointed, two members shall hold office for six years, two members for four years, and the last two for two years.
The board shall have extensive training and experience in the respective field of marine, air, highway and rail transportation systems, and must have adequate knowledge in investigation, analysis, and evaluation of transportation accidents, particularly in the field of accident reconstruction, safety engineering, or transportation safety.
Also, the board shall report to Congress a statistical and analytical summary of the transportation accident investigations conducted and reviewed by the Board during the preceding calendar year; a survey and summary of the recommendations made by the Board to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of such accidents together with the observed response to each recommendation; an appraisal in detail of the accident investigation and accident prevention activities of other government agencies charged by law with responsibility in this field and a biennial appraisal and review and recommendations for legislative and administrative action with respect to transportation safety.
The Board shall have an initial appropriation of P30,000,000 to finance its operation.