Senator seeks probe into Tanay bus crash

MANILA — Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking for a Senate inquiry into a bus accident in Tanay, Rizal which killed around 13 college students over the weekend.

“We will be filing a resolution to look into the matter in the Committee on Education,” Aquino, chair of the committee, told reporters in an interview.

Aquino said that he hopes the probe would help the Senate panel determine what reforms to make on guidelines on school field trips.

“We want to find out what happened and what reforms to make out-of-school activities safe,” Aquino said noting that field trips should be voluntary and not mandatory.

The senator said that he agreed that field trips are important but noted that it must be done in a safe environment.

“We are hopeful that we find better guidelines for the future. We also want to make sure for the rest of the public that this won’t happen again,” he added.

Aquino meanwhile expressed support for efforts of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to conduct their own probe on the incident.

He also offered sympathies to the families of the students killed in the accident.

Sen. Grace Poe, like Aquino, said that she also plans to file a resolution on granting permits for drivers of commercial buses.

She pointed out that the accident was more than a matter of school guidelines, but allowing buses 15-years-old or older to operate.

“There is no room for mistake and negligence in public transportation because one mistake could lead to tragedy among passengers,” Poe said.

“Let us ask, what are the safety features of buses now that buses 14 or 10-years-old don’t have? The drivers should also have experience. It’s not enough that they have licenses after driving for three months,” she added.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, an advocate of students’ rights and welfare, urged schools to exert efforts to ensure the safety of their students.

She pointed out that buses or other transportation vehicles should be properly checked before any field trip or out-of-the campus travel is permitted.

The tourist bus Panda Coach Tourist and Transpo, which rammed into an electrical post while traveling along Sitio Bayucal in Barangay Sampaloc in Tanay on Sunday morning.

Reports also noted that the students were going to attend a camping activity as part of their National Service Training (NSTP) Program at Sacramento Adventure Camp in Tanay when the accident took place.