I FIND our public transportation situation very disturbing. None of the agencies from the DOTC to the LTFRB are doing their jobs. They seem to be satisfied with such low standards. Not one public land transportation carrier in our streets complies with the law.
Here are three provisions of the New Civil Code of the Philippines that is of utmost importance but not at all followed nor enforced:
Article 1732. Common carriers are persons, corporations, firms or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passengers or goods or both, by land, water, or air, for compensation, offering their services to the public.
Article 1755. A common carrier is bound to carry the passengers’ safety as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances.
Article 1761. The passenger must observe the diligence of a good father of a family to avoid injury to himself.
These provisions of law are very clear, concise and self-explanatory.
Article 1732 defines what a common carrier is. By definition, all of our existing public transportation such as buses, jeepneys, taxis, habal-habal and even trisikads are common carriers. Article 1755 is the standard of care that common carriers must follow while carrying passengers, while 1761 is the standard of care that the passengers themselves must observe while riding on public transportation.
Let me start with the drivers of public transportation regardless of what they drive. All of them are moving violations of law. If any of you have seen a bus driver, jeepney driver, taxi driver or a habal-habal driver who drives with “the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with a due regard for all the circumstances,” please bring him to Sun.Star, because it is widely believed that this kind of professional driver is extinct.
As for the operators of public land transportation, in order for them to be able to carry their passengers safely “as far as human care and foresight can provide,” their vehicles must be in tip-top shape, with high quality parts, especially when it comes to safety. The reality is that the operators buy the cheapest tires and the cheapest brakes. From what I have observed, the most road worthy form of public transportation are the taxi’s but the problem with the taxis is that the public has to be vigilant as there have been quite a number of passengers who have been victimized by criminal taxi drivers.
Passengers also have to observe a standard of care for themselves, which is that of a “good father of a family” — in other words ordinary diligence. The reality here is that there are also a lot of negligent passengers. I see them hanging out of buses and jeepneys, embarking and disembarking in the middle of the road, or waiting for public transportation in the middle of the road.
The LTO is busy pretending to be doing their jobs by coming out with costly new plate numbers, and having a “no plate, no travel policy.” They have operations where they apprehend cars that have expired registration.
They make these easy violations a priority, violations that raise money for the LTO and also promote corruption. If they just enforce the aforementioned provisions of the New Civil Code, land transportation in the country will be a whole lot better. There will be discipline, less traffic and fewer accidents.