Board member seeks suspension of RTMI operations in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY – (Bukidnon News Dispatch/21 Sept.)Bukidnon Provincial
Board member Clive Quiño urged the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to call on
the suspension of operations in Bukidnon of the Rural Transit of
Mindanao, Inc. over alleged abuses of its drivers along Bukidnon
highways.

In a privilege speech at the regular session last Wednesday, a copy of
which was obtained by Bukidnon News recently, Quiño has asked that the
provincial government act on the alleged abuses.“Mr. chairman, we urgently need to act on this imminent danger.
According to the latest surveys, Bukidnon has the second most
dangerous highway in the Philippines.  With these buses plying our
highways it’s only a matter of time before we will have the deadliest
highways in the country” Quiño said, addressing the presiding officer.

He said RTMI might be the biggest bus company in the Philippines with
worth hundreds of millions of pesos.

“Our effort to discipline this bus company maybe likened to David
going against Goliath. But despite this company’s wealth and
influence, we cannot just take their abuses sitting down,” Quiño said.

Quiño lamented specific recent and past incidents of vehicular
incidents, the most recent of which was when a government driver was
killed when an RTMI bus swerved into a rescue vehicle of the local
government of Manolo Fortich.

Two other rescuers were hurt in the incident. Quiño said the three
were part of a rescue team who was conducting a retrieval operation on
Sept. 6 for an earlier road accident in Sitio Mangima, Tankulan,
Manolo Fortich town.

A speeding bus of RT MI allegedly disregarded an early warning sign,
“swerved and rammed into the rescuing truck of the local government
unit of Manolo Fortich,” he added.

Quiño told this reporter via telephone the incident triggered his call
for suspension. But he noted that there were other recent incidents in
the town and in other areas in Bukidnon.

He said about three weeks prior to the incident, in the same town an
RTMI bus also killed a man and his two children.  They were ran over
by the bus in what he described as an “utter disregard for road safety
by drivers of RTMI.”

Quiño said countless near mishaps involving the bus company happen
every day all over Bukidnon.

“At this exact moment I am sure, no, positive that either a motorcycle
has been forced to the road shoulder or a vehicle has been forced to
make a hasty and dangerous halt in the middle of the road because an
RTMI bus is overtaking recklessly on a curve section, he added.

He admitted that his father Rogelio Quiño, the mayor of Manolo
Fortich, was a victim himself when he was forced to the road side by
an over speeding RTMI bus in one incident and in another forced to
abruptly stop due to an overtaking bus.
He said the next day, the supervisor of RTMI and the driver visited
their residence to apologize.

But he said they would have not apologized if it happened only to an
ordinary citizen like a habal-habal (motorcycle for hire) driver or a
fish vendor.

“We’ve seen RTMI’s ridiculous neglect for safety. You can see it each
and every day all over Bukidnon. Let’s do our duty. Let’s keep
Bukidnon‘s roads safer,” he added.

Quiño said another important concern is the safety of the passengers
of the RTMI busses.

“These vehicles do not carry cargoes or mere items of commerce. These
vehicles transport people. They transport commuters to their work, to
their homes and families, to schools, and many other places under
their franchise,” he added.

The Bukidnon provincial board decided to call the attention of the
Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land
Transportation Office, and the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office to
shed light on road accidents and possible action against RTMI, board
member Jay Albarece said

Bukidnon News contacted RTMI supervisors for comments on the issue but
no one agreed to speak on the matter as of September 20, 2011. (Walter
I. Balane)

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