BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the region urged the public anew to exercise caution and follow road safety regulations as tourists continue to flock to this summer capital for the holiday season.
“Nakita po natin na dito sa lungsod ng Baguio ay dumadami ang number ng tourists, especially local tourists natin parang nagkaroon ng tourism rebound at nakikita natin na may issue ng road safety so tinutukan ng ating opisina ang pag ensure na yung mga umaakyat ng Baguio ay talagang kumpleto ang papeles, proper ang gamit nila at road worthy ang mga sasakyan, ganun na din ang mga driver (we see a peaking number of tourists in Baguio, especially local tourists and we are also seeing a road safety issue that is why we are focusing our attention on it and assuring that the vehicles have complete papers, their vehicles including the drivers are roadworthy),” Francis Rae Almora, OIC regional director of the DOTr in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and concurrent director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO), said in an interview on Tuesday.
This came as the DOTr-Cordillera apprehended violators of transportation laws and even caught a driver who test positive for illegal drug use in a random inspection and operation conducted by their office with the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and a private laboratory endorsed by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).
“We have impounded three big bikes for being unregistered after they violated traffic and transportation laws in the city," he added.
Almora also said random inspections of inter-regional buses plying the city, including tourist buses, revealed that some exceed their seating capacity by placing stools and chairs in the middle alley of the bus to accommodate other passengers.
They are also checking local public utility vehicles like taxis and jeepneys, he said.
“This is a violation of the land transportation law, this is not allowed because in cases of road crashes, those that are seated on chairs that are not properly anchored suffer injuries and at times, come out as fatalities and this is one thing that we are ensuring in our operations,” he added.
Almora said they have also intensified “anti-colorum” operations.
“Private vehicles that are used as public transport are not covered by comprehensive insurance and in the event, there is an accident, the passengers will not be able to claim anything as insurance. We should not get their services because they are operating illegally and it will be unsafe for us,” Almora said.
He said that LTO issues a special permit to legitimate transportation operators for additional trips to cater to the increased number of travelers.
“Roadworthiness for the machine and the driver who must not be physically tired, sleepy, and not used to driving the mountain terrain. For those using public transport, make sure you don’t travel using a colorum vehicle,” he said. (PNA)