News Release

Palace vows continued effort to ensure safer public transport in PH

Malacañang on Thursday, March 22, assured the public of the government’s continuing efforts to improve the safety and security of Filipino riders using Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. in a Palace press briefing issued a reminder to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) of its responsibility to supervise the maintenance of PUVs and ensure the efficiency of their drivers.

“Bibigyan natin ng reminder ang LTFRB na meron din silang katungkulan na mag-supervise ng [PUVs] at kinakailangan nga paigtingin ang kampanya… pagdating sa maintenance ng mga bus at tsaka doon sa continuing effort na dapat maitaas ang kakayahan ng mga public utility bus drivers,” Roque said.

His statement came after the LTFRB issued a preventive suspension order against Dimple Star Bus Company following a deadly vehicular accident in Occidental Mindoro that killed around 19 people and injured 21 others.

“Kinakailangan paigtingin ‘yung kanilang responsibilidad na siguraduhin na ang mga public utility buses are well maintained and the drivers are up to date as far as skills development is concerned,” Roque further stressed.

The Palace expressed its deepest sympathies to the victims of the accident as well as their families. Secretary Roque assured them that the government would do its part to give them justice.

“Antayin muna natin kung anong talaga ang magiging resulta ng imbestigasyon. Kung ito po ay resulta ng kapabayaan ng mga taong gobyerno, syempre po meron na namang masisibak,” he stated.

“Nanawagan po kami sa lahat, lalo na sa mga tsuper ng bus, ng ibayong pag-iingat, lalo na at papalapit ang Semana Santa at summer break kung saan libo-libo sa ating mga kababayan ang luluwas at uuwi sa kani-kanilang mga probinsya,” Roque added.

‘Palace nixes Boracay Island closure during peak season’

During the same press briefing, Malacañang stressed that the possible closure of Boracay Island will not happen during the upcoming peak season.

“Proceed to Boracay, especially since it’s Holy Week. I don’t think any closure will happen during the peak season of Boracay,” Secretary Roque said.

He said the President is yet to act upon the recommendation to shut down Boracay to make way for its much needed rehabilitation. He clarified that the status quo maintains as far as tourism operations on the island are concerned.

He added that if the President accepts the proposal to temporarily close Boracay, it would have to be during the lean season to minimize its impact on the tourism sector.

The Spokesperson meanwhile reminded business developers on the island of an existing moratorium, which disallows them to make further improvements in their establishments.

“Whatever happens to Boracay, what’s imperative now is to lay down expanded infrastructure for both drainage and sewage treatment facilities,” Roque said, as he reiterated the administration’s commitment to rehabilitate the island and make it a sustainable environment which can support huge developments.

‘Palace thanks Russia support for PH’s withdrawal to ICC’

Meanwhile, Malacañang also welcomed Russia’s expression of support for the Philippines’ decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

“That’s to be expected and we’d like to thank Russia for such a comment. The President has said that he is enjoining other countries of the world to withdraw from the ICC,” Secretary Roque said.

The Cabinet official added that “the Philippines is not alone” in its plan to break away from the international court. He cited other countries like South Africa, which earlier relented in its decision to withdraw from the ICC but now plans to initiate withdrawal proceedings again.

Roque then called on the international court to “rethink its options,” saying that it is now at the crossroads for universal ratification due to its prosecutor’s violation of the principle of complementarity. ### PCO-Content