AN ADVOCACY GROUP is lobbying for the passage of a pending measure creating a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to improve confidence in the transportation industry and encourage more tourism.

“We are promoting seamless travel in the tourism industry, and the backbones of seamless travel are safety and security,” Safe Travel Alliance lead convenor Maria Cherry Lyn S. Rodolfo told reporters Monday.

“That gives confidence on the part of the traveler that when he or she travels to the Philippines… when he or she goes to a certain destination, (there is) this level of confidence (that the trip will be) safe because the culture of safety in that destination or community is very high.”

Ms. Rodolfo said that a transport body that separates the investigative function from other transport agencies is crucial.

Under the current set-up, transport agencies responsible for issuing permits also investigate transport accidents.

“This NTSB will be able to identify the causes (of the accident) so that, as pointed out, we will prevent accidents from happening. In the event (of) major accidents, then we have an independent body that will conduct the investigation. It’s no longer… (the) agency that is a regulator, an operator and an investigator, performing all those functions at the same time,” Ms. Rodolfo said.

The NTSB, as proposed, will be an autonomous agency under the Office of the President with the primary role of investigating transport accidents.

The Senate on third and final reading on Dec. 9 approved Senate Bill 1077 to establish the NTSB. The committees on government reorganization and transportation at the House approved House Bill 3565, and it is pending with the committee on appropriations.

The alliance is pushing for the signing of the NTSB law in the 18th Congress.

“Safety and security are key pillars of seamless mobility of people and goods especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines generally dependent on inter-modal transportation systems,” Ms. Rodolfo said. — Jenina P. Ibañez