THE Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) pressed Congress to ratify the bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), calling it an overdue piece of legislation that has been delayed for decades.

In a statement on Thursday, the JFC said it sent letters to the House and Senate leadership to ratify Senate Bill No. 1077 and House Bill No. 9030, which were harmonized in Bicameral Conference.  

“This important reform bill creating the PTSB is ready for immediate passage. With the bicameral conference committee of both chambers having been convened, the JFC eagerly awaits the ratification of the reconciled version. Once ratified by both houses the bill can finally be endorsed for enactment by the President,” the JFC said.

“For over two decades, the PTSB bill has languished in Congress. Only during the current 18th Congress has this bill reached the advanced stage in both chambers which now has solid prospects for enactment into a law,” it added.  

The 18th Congress is set to resume session on May 23 until its sine die adjournment on June 3.

According to the JFC, other groups such as the Safe Travel Alliance, International Air Transport Association, and Air Carriers Association of the Philippines are also pressing for the creation of the PTSB.

It added that major transportation accidents can be prevented under PTSB leadership once the bill is enacted.

The bill seeks to create a non-regulatory and independent agency attached to the Office of the President. The agency will be responsible for impartially investigating transportation accidents and incidents.

The board’s task has been defined as improving transportation safety, minimizing danger to human life and property, and ensuring the implementation of transportation safety standards.

The JFC said various agencies currently handle accident investigations such as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Maritime Industry Authority.

It added that road accidents involving public utility vehicles are handled by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, while other road accidents may also be investigated by the Philippine National Police, Land Transportation Office, and Metro Manila Development Authority.

“With establishment of the PTSB, the gap in bureaucracy which allegedly contributes to inefficiency in the implementation of transportation-safety schemes and ineffectual safety measures will be addressed. PTSB’s regulatory, investigatory, and fact-finding functions will allow the agency to implement a proactive approach and be in control of the situation even before it happens. As an independent and impartial transport safety body, it is tasked to coordinate,” the JFC said.

“As a country that is generally dependent on inter-modal transportation systems to facilitate the movement of goods, cargo, and people to, from, and within its archipelago, institutional reforms to enhance the standards of transportation safety measures, prevent transportation accidents in the future, and mitigate dangers to human lives and property is mostly needed,” it added.

Signatories to the statement are the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines, Inc.; Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.; and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave