By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
BUS companies in the region said Thursday they have put in place protocols in their fleets to ensure passenger safety as mandated by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS).
Designating safety officers in terminals was one of the measures bus owners have adopted in compliance with the OTS directive.
Among the bus companies that have complied with the OTS-required protocols are Rural Transit Mindanao Incorporated (RTMI) and Pabama Transport and Tours Corp..
RTMI operations manager Jay Galindo said they have assigned safety officers in major terminals in areas where they operate.
One of the safety officers’ function, Galindo said, is to check passenger luggages and see to it that firearms brought inside buses by persons in authority are recorded.
He said they have also installed surveillance cameras in their buses.
“Aside from our safety officers, our drivers, inspectors, and conductors have also been trained how to respond when, for instance, a bag is left inside the bus. On top of that, we even have a task force whose members will check the baggages,” he added.
Pabama chief executive officer Serjohn Panis said their company has formulated a set of security measures.
Panis said it is necessary to “provide a safe environment” for their passengers by being security-conscious.
“Our field personnel are trained to handle situations inside the bus,” he added.
One of the precautionary measures they have implemented is for their buses to stop only at designated bus stops especially during night time trips.
The OTS, an office under the Department of Transportation (DOTR), has required bus firms to comply with the security protocols it introduced in the wake of terroristic attacks on civilians including bombing or burning of buses.
To prevent any loss of life or property due to attacks, the OTS has introduced the National Land Transportation Security Program (NLTSP) that focuses on three protocols, namely, the promotion of “security by design,” the institutionalization of “security plan,” and the building of “security culture” among bus companies.
Other DOTR line agencies such as the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and Land Transportation Office are also mandated to monitor if the bus operators have complied with these security protocols.
LTFRB regional director Aminoden Guro said the adoption and compliance of the NLTSP is very important as buses provide transport services to a huge portion of the commuting public.
“With these security protocols being implemented, we hope that untoward incidents can be avoided. We don’t want our riding public to fear every time they ride a bus. Their safety is our utmost concern,” Guro said.