‘JUSTIFIED’ Authorities cite Laguna jeepney accident to press for PUV modernization

‘JUSTIFIED’ Authorities cite Laguna jeepney accident to press for PUV modernization

Jan 29, 2024, 2:59 AM
Jai Duena

Jai Duena


Authorities have apparently seized the opportunity to use the recent accident involving a passenger jeepney in Nagcarlan, Laguna to justify the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) of the national government.

A road accident involving a passenger jeepney killed two people including a two-year-old girl and injured more than 20 others in Nagcarlan, Laguna last January 19.

According to the police report, the jeepney driver lost control of the steering wheel after the brakes of the vehicle malfunctioned and rammed several vehicles before coming to a halt at a hardware store.

While local authorities have pointed out that the area where the incident occurred is prone to accidents, some officials have seized the opportunity to use the accident to justify the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) of the national government.

Tragic accident

The first victim was two-year-old Sandra Margarette Arevalo, granddaughter of Nagcarlan Vice Mayor Rexon Arevalo who was riding an e-bike together with her aunt, a four-year-old, and an eleven-month-old baby.

“Nung alam kong may babangga sa amin, niyapos ko na ang anak ko at pamangkin ko. Kaso yung isa kong pamangkin, hindi ko nayapos kasi nasa unahan siya, unahan ng driver,” Bernadette Arevalo said.

Fabian Audije, the second victim was 45 years old and had just borrowed a chair from across the road for her father’s birthday when the jeepney hit her while crossing back.

The driver, who is now under the custody of Nagcarlan Municipal Police Station, is facing several cases including double homicide, multiple physical injuries, and property damage.

The suspect insisted that he did not fall asleep or was under the influence of drugs when the incident happened and that he tried his best to avoid casualties.

“Patawad sa mga nangyari sa akin. Hindi ko rin kagustuhan ang nangyari sa amin eh. Sino bang may gusto ng aksidente? Wala. Kahit anong ingat mo kung talagang aksidente ang dumadating, wala kang magagawa,” he said.

Justifying PUV modernization

In a press release statement, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) said that the accident in Nagcarlan is one of the major reasons why Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista has been firm in his decision not to further delay the much-needed Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).

“The road accident in Nagcarlan, Laguna involving a passenger jeepney that left two people dead, including a two-year-old girl, manifests the necessity to modernize the public transportation in the country.”
“The government’s goal of reducing unnecessary deaths and injuries due to road accidents includes a shift to a safer, comfortable, convenient, and sustainable modernized public transportation under the PUV Modernization Program,” said LTO Chief Assistant Secretary Atty. Vigor Mendoza II.

LTO proving a point?

“Hindi ito ang unang insidente ng mga malagim na trahedya sa kalsada na inakasungkutan ng mga lumang pampublikong sasakyan. Marami ng katulad na insidente na nangyari noon at paulit-ulit lang itong mangyayari kung hindi gagawa ng karampatang aksyon ang ating pamahalaan upang maging maayos ang transportasyon sa ating bansa,” Mendoza said.

However, data from the Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System (MMARAS) shows that despite being involved in some fatal accidents, trucks and motorcycles are still far more dangerous than jeepneys.

According to the MMARAS 2022 report, Car is the most involved vehicle in accidents with 72,295 followed by motorcycles with 31,124, trucks with 11,318, Vans with 4,474, and then Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJ) with 4,004.

In terms of fatal accidents, motorcycles led the numbers with 313, followed by cars with 130, trucks with 113, Bikes/E-bikes/Pedicabs with 33, and then vans and PUJs with 19.

In summary, PUJs are far from being the number one player in fatal accidents as it is only 2.9 percent of total road accidents.

The MMARAS 2021 report also suggests the same conclusion.

The 2021 report also puts cars at number one with 54,001 followed by motorcycles with 26,768, trucks with 9,877, vans with 6,592, and PUJs with 2,721.

In terms of fatal accidents, motorcycles got 295, followed by cars with 101, trucks with 93, bike/E-bike/Pedicabs with 35, buses with 23, vans with 19, unknown vehicle types with 14, and PUJs with 12 with only tricycles (9), trains (6) and taxis (6) below.

Understandably, motorcycles are dangerous because it has two wheels and an exposed driver. PUJs and trucks are both four-wheeled vehicles but a notable comparison is the big difference when it comes to fatal accidents.

Comparing the fatal accident rate between the two, trucks are far more deadly than PUJs.

This is not surprising as it is a common sight for Filipinos to see an old overloaded cargo truck traversing a main road or an overspeeding ‘invincible’ trailer truck.

This begs the question: Why is the government not as aggressive in modernizing and regulating trucks as much as they do to PUJs?

(Editor’s note: On January 25, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. decided to extend the deadline for the consolidation of PUV franchises to April 30.)


PHOTO CAPTION: The aftermath of an accident at Nagcarlan, Laguna after a passenger jeepney collided with other vehicles and smashed into a roadside establishment last January 19, killing two and injuring dozens more. Local authorities have claimed that the area where the crash occurred was an “accident-prone” area. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News)

#OpinYonLaguna #CoverStory #Justified #PUVModernization #JeepneyPhaseout #Nagcarlan #LTO #LTFRB #Accidents #OpinYon #WeTakeAStand

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