Ph gov’t hopelessly inutile when it comes to prosecuting homicidal bus companies

It is baffling how Filipinos continue to be “surprised” or even “shocked” by the deadly toll resulting from the animal-like driving behaviour of Filipino bus drivers. The account of a motorist who witnessed the most recent “accident” involving a Don Mariano Transit bus that killed 18 people is a familiar one…

Irene Sisperes, a motorist who witnessed the accident, said she was driving with her daughter at 80 kilometers per hour when the bus overtook her car. She estimated that the bus was traveling at between 100 kph and 110 kph.

Sisperes said it was still dark and it was raining when the accident happened.

“After a few meters, I saw the bus fall and I shouted, ‘The bus fell, the bus fell,’” she said in a radio interview. She said there were no other cars nearby.

Reign of terror: Homicidal Filipino bus drivers rule Philippine roads.

Reign of terror: Homicidal Filipino bus drivers rule Philippine roads.

Most motorists have had personal experiences negotiating Manila’s roads side-by-side with psychotic public bus drivers. To clarify a minor point here, these really aren’t public bus drivers in the real sense but private businessmen. Filipino “public” bus drivers drive on commission. They ply Manila’s roads with the aim of fattening commissions on ticket sales for the day. As such, they will find ways to grab their passengers, turnaround as many trips as possible within the day, and extend their working hours to the edge of what is in a lot of cases a drug-induced minimum driving lucidity.

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As such, bus services in the Philippines defy any efforts to put them within broad and modern routing system. More importantly, the current system strongly incentivises the owners of these buses and the drivers who pilot them to ignore the law in their pursuit of profits. And because the granting of franchises to bus and other public transport services is a contentious and highly-political process, people and families with strong connections with politicians and government officials and lots of money to grease that connection are often key players in this industry.

The odds that any of these key players in this homicidal industry will be held to any semblance of account for a long history of maiming, death, and destruction to property in the near future is overwhelmingly stacked up against the general Filipino public. Beyond the sort of limpdicked manner that Media outlets and law enforcement agencies name and shame bus companies whenever accidents like these happen, no big boss of any of these companies has ever been put behind bars.

Malacanang, for its part, is essentially inutile; issuing what in essence is no more than a pathetic platitude that is of little comfort to the families of the victims…

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda assured the families of some 20 people who were killed and the survivors of the bus mishap that investigation has been ongoing and whoever would be responsible would be held accountable.

“I think tragedies like this fully serve to remind the common carriers that they have an obligation in transportation law, extraordinary diligence,” he said, adding sanctions are imposed upon them if an accident occurs.

Excuse me, sir, but “common carriers” do not need reminders. They need to have their asses kicked whenever they break the law. Unforunately for the hapless Filipino, their government does not wear the right footwear for the job and instead walks around in tsinelas claiming they merely serve their “boss”.

So much for any hope of looking to the Philippine government for solutions.

Chaotic private buses menace rather than serve the Philippine public.

Chaotic private buses menace rather than serve the Philippine public.

The trouble with the Philippines is that the only consistent law that applies in the land is the law of impunity. Indeed, the popular and widely-acknowledged-to-be-true urban legend in the Philippines is that Filipino bus drivers have standing orders, in the event of an accident involving a pedestrian, to make sure the victim is dead — usually by putting their vehicles in reverse after an accident to run over the victim one more time for good measure. That way, the cost of compensation involves a one-time funeral expense rather than a lifetime of support for a surviving victim. Perhaps that is why so many crashes involving buses are so violent. Killing is part of the job description.

There is a mountain of evidence to attest to the reality that the way “public” buses are deployed and operated on Manila’s streets simply does not work. They menace the public rather than serve, and their business model props up the institutionalised corruption that has persisted in the Philippines’ licensing and regulatory agencies for decades. Anecdotal evidence suggests that former judges, military officers, and police chiefs disrproportionately account for the list of people who own bus line franchises in the country. Level playing field? There is no such thing in Philippine business. The consequences of this inbred style of doing business are fatal as we can now see.

Maybe someday the Philippines can stop pretending to be a modern country and actually start behaving like one. Until then, “mishaps” — whether caused by super-typhoons or homicidal bus drivers — will continue to blight the national conscience. The Philippines remains a victim more of an ingrained refusal of its people to help themselves than of any force of nature or outcome of providence that its people would like to believe determine their destinies.

Help ourselves? Too hard. Mamaya na lang.

[Second photo of EDSA traffic jam coutesy Boylit De Guzman.]

41 Replies to “Ph gov’t hopelessly inutile when it comes to prosecuting homicidal bus companies”

  1. Pinoy bus drivers, or pinoy drivers, in general do not know how to really drive. They just know how to make a vehicle go, that’s all. Now couple that with the famous pinoy traits of “me first”, “I am better than you”, “just a poor guy trying to make a living”, etc, then you have the chaos we have now.

    And it seems that bad traits of drivers are most evident on the extremes, the biggest vehicles (trucks, buses), the smallest vehicles (scooters), the newest vehicles (2013 model onwards), the most dilapidated vehicles (ricers).

    Best thing to do would be to have all driver’s licenses to not be renewable anymore. Instead have new licensing body independent of the government and its politics (as if that is possible) to issue REAL driver’s licenses.

  2. Another sad and all too familiar episode resulting in unnecessary deaths. Accidents happen, but too often in the philippines they are just waiting to happen, as a blind eye is turned to the law, common sense is absent, and negligence becomes the norm, as greed, rather than ‘normal’ business practices/ethics push employees to the limit, throw health and safety principles in the bin, and cut costs at every opportunity, thereby significantly increasing the risk of passenger welfare in the kamikaze transport system in manila. buy a ticket, take a chance. it is a life and death lottery where life is cheap, and death is easy.
    Have a safe trip, and even if you do not travel by these environmental pollutants, they are still causing harm to anyone in the vicinity as they belch toxic fumes for all to enjoy.
    Calling francis tolentino – less trips abroad, and start doing some work at home.

  3. What happened to speed limitations for buses and trucks? Why do these accidents keep on happening? Ask the “geniuses” who fix speed limits. Drivers of buses and trucks need to be re-educated on speed limits. These heavy vehicles are hard to control in rain and high speed runs. Lower the speed limits to 50 KPH. Less wear and tear and lesser fuel consumption. Add maintenance checks and you get a higher safety rating on the road. What is the government doing about it? Sleeping on the job? Wish to see protest actions on this vehicular accident issues.

    1. Nothing to do with the fact that Filipinos do not maintain vehicles? The bus involved in the accident yesterday was a clapped out bit of junk, anywhere else in the world it would have been sent to the scrap yard years ago and would never be allowed on the road. Here in the Philippines it is patched up with a piece of bubblegum and sellotape and called road worthy.
      The tires on the bus were totally bald and never had a bit of tread, guaranteed to skid on a wet road.

  4. How bout just getting rid of the ‘boundary’ system and give drivers salaries like how ‘non-stupid’ countries do it? Is that impossible? also, let’s make professional driver applicants take a test to filter out retards. Is that too discriminating?

    1. Without the boundary system, the driver’s would not have enough to live on, and how about their mistresses on their stopovers?

      We do have tests for professional drivers, it it just that when you get the test questions, they have answers already, provided you “paid” the right amount.

      Filter retards? It seems they are undetected because we elected one as a president.

  5. “A life that is pleasantly SurpriZING!” main motto of lotus Zing in sector 168 om noida Expressway is the part of 3C company. Its is hub of sprots and leisure and approx area is 70,000 sq,ft and offering a world of latest amenities.
    Its is registered for the IGBC Green Homes LEED certification programme and registration number is ‘GH101076’

  6. I was surprised, but not alarmed by the recent news, now with a Death Toll of 21, I believe. Such events can be seen every day. Jeepneys sporting ‘All Slick Tyres!’ – Including the spare! These vehicles are not manufactured to any standard whatsoever! – The ‘Green Jeepney of Death’ is still running between Masinag and Antipolo! As part of the BBCs programme ‘Worst place to be a bus driver’ Rogelio’s Jeepney was probably the only one in the whole of The Philippines to sport Brand New Tyres! – Even the spare! This was a requirement of the production team.

    So many correspondents are quite correct in describing that ‘my car is bigger than your car! – I am more important than you! – I have a Freemason Sticker! – I have a Gun Club Sticker . . ‘

    Last year I was a passenger on an Alps bus from Manila to Batangas. This is the only time in my driving career of nearly 40 Years that I have seen bus drivers carrying out a ‘Handbrake Turn’ with a full complement of passengers!

    And what is all the Bullshit about on the side of the vehicle? – “How’s my Driving, Call LTFRB . . .” Utter Bollocks! – The numbers are either fake, or they are never answered!

    WAKE UP PHILIPPINES! Bald tyres, and rain are a lethal combination, as was demonstrated! If your Bus or Jeepney has Bald Tyres, refuse to travel, and/or demand your money back!

  7. PS

    As for blame, it will be the driver! – Not of course a charge of Corporate Manslaughter involving the ‘Precious’ directors of Don Marino!

  8. The other urban legend about Filipino bus drivers is that they take shabu to stay awake.

    Due to the boundary system, they work long hours everyday and begin plying their routes at ungodly times in order to meet their “boundary”.

    1. Yep, its absolutely moronic that they are not on an ‘hourly wage’ instead of a ‘productivity scale’ type wage. This pay system puts every single person on the road at risk of death and the abolition of the ‘productivity wage’ system is probably the only way to stop the carnage. or shoot a few of these idiotic ill-trained scumbags after they run someone off the road or kill a few dozen people. You know, it is actually not the drivers fault, they are pushed to ‘maximize’ profits/meet a dealine by their greedy employers who maintain shabbily equipped, ill-maintained ‘fleets’ of jalopy’s that are not road worthy! If the driver don’t get ya, the POS bus will!

  9. francis tolentino too busy with film parties to even show his face. what a moron this guy is. real work is way beyond the provincial twat.

  10. @ Benigno: ‘Animals’ is what the bus drivers are. I followed a ‘Bachelor’ bus that purposely ran me off the road in Bukidnon three years ago. I had the full intention of shooting the SCUMBAG when he finally pulled over after following him for 10 kms….but there were too many witness’s and it happened to be a ‘Holy Day’ of my professed faith, so, I hate to say it but, the guy got an un-deserved pass, and most likely did not even realize it! I realized that in the Philippines, if I were to die, it would most likely be in an driving-related accident. I had to stop driving my Kawasaki 200cc M.C. as it was just suicidal after 9 months of risking my life daily.

    SADLY, it will only stop happening when a few of these scumbags are shot in the street and realize that the general public is fuckin sick of these ‘Road warriors’ acting like they own the roads and are the only ones driving on them. They are just like the arrogant politicians that blatantly lie and steal from the public. Both will only stop/change their behavior when the are actually STOPPED from doing it. Sad, but of so true!

    1. bus drivers may be scum, but what about those who bring guns with them and intend to shoot anyone who ‘runs them off?’ coooool mo! it won’t surprise me if you were the guy in the hyundai who shot a 9-year old girl just the other week… douche.

      1. There is a BIG difference between shooting someone who has intentionally tried to kill you!and shooting a 9 yr.old girl.

        AND you are the douche for not knowing it! as well as thinking a grown Man who knows the difference between the two would even think of doing such a thing to a li’l girl.

        So, reality check? Yep, you the douchebag!

    1. lest i be corrected by a grammar nazi. from

      ply – to go or travel regularly over, on, or through; to practice or perform diligently

      plow – to turn, break up, or work with a plow; to proceed steadily and laboriously; to move forcefully into or through something

      so yeah, i intended to use “plow” instead of “ply”

  11. So long as we can grease the palm of the traffic enforcers…so long that Mr. Aquino will just assure us of “investigations”, to punish the parties involved. So long as we all drive , ignoring traffic rules and courtesy. There will be always maniacs driving on the road; who think they own the road. Traffic casualties will continue…

  12. Nice try Anti-Pinoys. Just because we have a bus accident, you somehow spin this into a flaw in our culture? Nice try but it won’t work.

    Need I remind you that traffic fatalities in the USA kill more people than all criminal activities combined. Where is your blog about that? Oh you can’t blog about that, because it does not fit your agenda.

    But never mind about your agendas. I challenge you to come up with a solution.

    My solution is that we need to hold these greedy businessmen accountable for exploiting their poor and defenseless drivers who are treated like slaves. We need someone with the courage to stand up against these powerful and influential businessmen. After displaying the courage of holding Romualdez accountable, I suggest Mar Roxas is the perfect man for the job. Mar Roxas has displayed unconventional strength and leadership by not fearing critics or popular opinion when getting the job done. Mar Roxas fights for us, the Filipino people, and all you arm-chair intellectuals can go to hell for all he cares–bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo!

    1. What is wrong with exposing what is wrong with the Filipino culture?

      It doesn’t mean that accidents happen all over the world that it’s ok for this kind of accident happening locally.

      Hold the greedy businessmen accountable? They cannot even do it within the government, sa labas pa? You do not even know how this bus companies do their day to day operations.

      Mar Roxas does not know squat, hell, I bet you my bottom sentimo, he cannot even handle a mid level project manager’s job. Proof of that is how he fumbled through the typhoon aftermath. What leadership? What job getting done?

      Mar Roxas fights for himself for the 2016 election, idiot.

      Yeah, right, armchair intellectuals, are what is needed by this country. Tira ka lang kasi ng tira, meaningless naman. Bobo!

    2. You seriously still think Mar will win in 2016 after what he did in tacloban??
      You are seriously delusional since he has already blown his chance of being president in 2016 with his shitty performance.

      The mere fact that you malacanang trolls keep showing your faces here definitely shows that you guys are panicking at the growing outrage against your president and your precious Mar Roxas.

      They don’t need you guys spreading propaganda if they were indeed doing their job yet here you guys are, spreading false advertising and attacking their critics.

      The glaring evidences of their incompetence are already spreading yet you guys can’t even see them.

      I don’t think your president and his lover boy would last till 2016 if they are still using you moronic mooks to attack blog sites like this one.

    3. Joel and Johnny,

      I am sorry to disappoint you but Mar Roxas has a good chance to be President.

      GRP will be basically the same. Just look up all the articles published here. Substitute Noynoy with Mar Roxas and there you go. Same Anti-Pinoy agenda. No substance just tearing great people down.

      And while the Anti-Pinoys live in their delusional self-hating state, Philippine economic power continues to rise until one day this site will have no more visitors because the Philippine Economic Miracle will be so self-evident that Anti-Pinoys will be exposed as fools in the wrong side of history.

      1. Go preach your “economic power continue to rise” to the millions who are unemployed and have to eat pagpag to get through the day.

        Go tell that to the Meralco subscribers who have to shoulder addtitional burden just because your idiot president fumbled AGAIN.

        You keep on harping how great the asses your kissing, but you fail substantiate your claims with any valid proof.

        I am sorry, Proud Pinoy, but you are nothing but a massive liar, imbecile, moron and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

      2. Sorry to say, you’ve only exposed yourself as a 100% fraud by continuing to troll here.

        Your president and his lover’s days are already numbered.

        Like I said, your masters in malacanang don’t need you spreading propaganda if they were doing their job.

        Face it, the president and Mar are finished.

      3. As usual, you keep harping on the imaginary greatness your masters in malacanang.
        Can you explain why almost 4 years later, your master still hasn’t done anything right?
        Do we really need to spell it for you?
        Or are you just too stupid and delusional to realize that your masters in malacanang are already on the brink of being deposed?

        Sorry to disappoint you, Gullible Pinoy, but your trolling days are over.

  13. The economic protectionism policy of the philippines more than any other single factor is what has resulted in the gradual decline of the country relative to the growth and increased prosperity of even its ‘once poor’ neighbours, and consequently the ever escalating need to rely on more ofw’s going abroad and their remittances, or more aid/grants/charity from anyone who will listen to a sob story.

    The result is no innovation, no motivation, no significant long term inward investment, no jobs generation programmes, and an economy which will always fail 95% plus of the population, whilst the less than 5% take power and control, and worst of all, couldn’t care less. ‘ i’m all right juan, now you f@ck off’.
    less have more in the philippines – with a yawning chasm of inequality unequalled in few countries worldwide.
    Free market mechanisms are not perfect, but one thing is sure, they are light years away from the price fixing of cartels, the dynastic influence on legislation, and the oligarchs control over lack of choice/competition.
    Oligarchs are only interested in maximum/short term profits and the philippines pays the price everyday for short sighted policies which have nothing to do with inclusive growth, business/jobs generation, and long term economic stability.
    The philippines economy will slow down and ultimately hit the buffers because of its external dependence, and a lost cost labour model without homegrown innovation is unsustainable.
    So forget pnoy aquinos usual promise ( lie), about halving poverty to 17% by 2015. It will not happen. And that says pnoy aquino either doesn’t have a clue, or he blatantly lies. Either way he should be hung from a lampost if he cannot achieve what he repeatedly said he could, but obviously can’t.
    Dumb and hypocritical piece of sh!t.

    1. …Oh 17% will happen, even less, regardless if it real or imagined, with the kind of influence that the BS has and surveys, and family media…..

      And Proud Pinoy will be wagging his tail and telling us, “told you so!”

    2. Let me give a preview in the future folks.

      1. Philippine poverty below 17 percent — TOLD YOU SO!

      2. Noynoy declared by historians as one of the best Presidents of the Philippines — TOLD YOU SO!

      3. Mar Roxas leads Philippines through global economic depression with his “bahala na kayo so buhay niyo” strength of character — TOLD YOU SO!

      4. After 12 years and the Philippines reaching 1st World Economic Status, Anti-Pinoys still criticize current president like a broken record — TOLD YOU SO!

      1. Nah its gonna be more like
        1. Philippine poverty at an all time high- Told you so!
        2.Noynoy deposed and declared by historians as the WORST president of all time- LOL,told you so!
        3.Mar Roxas losses his presidential ambition- told you so!
        4.After 2013, the malacanang troll group has been disbanded and its members out of work- Told you so!

      2. That would be good, except for one thing, none of those two will be able to get this country there, the way they are doing things now. That is a FACT. And you are still on dreamland. You cannot even give something concrete to support your claims.

        Again, you are one massive liar, idiot, moron, imbecile and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

        Sige, BJ mo pa amo!

  14. and this uneducated ignoramus will still believe in santa claus.
    some people are born losers and some work hard at being bottom of the heap.
    a social troll comes below the social ranking of a 100 peso a time hooker.

    a practical demonstration of what happens with bad parents and little education.

    merry trolling

  15. Watching an old movie called “Born Losers” and the star Billy Jack has just told the tough guy biker “Are you gonna fight or just talk me to death” Same with these bus companies, all that’s needed and the government knows this is an engine throttle govenor it limits the speed of these buses because, checking tires every crisis and performing yearly training don’t work and won’t work, possibly hiring college graduates might but there’s still that factor of incentive, kill the incentive by limiting how fast these buses can travel.

    The real fix is extending and seriously upgrading all LRT stations so that buses are only used off the main highways.

    1. You’re right about the limiter. These buses when new, have already preset fuel delivery on their fuel system. But the thing is, this drivers “tinker” with this fuel delivery limiter as it is as simple as turning a screw on the IP. Yes, they come sealed from the factory. And yes, it causes over fueling which causes thick black smoke.

      Some bus companies, though, prohibit the unauthorized adjustment of the IP except by their service personnel only.

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