MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a crackdown on buses illegally plying routes nationwide, after visiting the site of the fatal Dimple Star bus crash on Friday, March 23.
He also ordered the arrest of the operator of Dimple Star bus.
Hilbert Napat, the Dimple Star bus operator, has since appeared at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame.
“And so today ang akong naka-atubang ang Highway Patrol ngadto ug ang Police - Chief of Police, giingnan nako sila nga dakpa ang tanang colorum apil na ning sa tibuok Pilipinas. Prisuha nang mga driver, hasta ang mga operator. Isulod gyud sa kulungan kay patilawon nako na sila," Duterte said.
(And so today I met with the Highway Patrol there and the Police – Chief of Police, I told them to catch all the colorum, including all those in the Philippines. Put the drivers in jail, including the operators. Put them behind bars because I’ll let them have a taste)
In the same speech, which he delivered during the Supreme Tribal Council for Peace and Development’s anniversary, he addressed authorities, saying these drivers should be shot if they violently resist arrest.
“Ingnon nako panahon na nga ihatag nato sa tawong lungsod ang gobyerno nga tarong ug gobyerno nga mudawat ug responsibilidad (I’ll say that it’s time that we give the people in cities a good government and a government that accepts responsibility)," he said.
Duterte added he would use all laws to lead their acts from fraud to homicide. “I-connectar nako na tanang balaud, undangon ko gyud ni para sa tanan (I’ll connect all those laws, and end this for all),” he said.
Earlier that day, Duterte made an unannounced visit to the site where a Dimple Star bus crashed in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, on Tuesday, March 20, killing 19.
The President also visited the wake of a victim and the wounded recuperating in a nearby hospital.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement on Friday, March 24, that the President gave P20,000 to each family of the deceased and P10,000 plus cellphone for every person injured in the crash.
Roque added, "Per the LTFRB, starting Monday, March 26, the families of those who died would directly be receiving P200,000 while those injured will receive P20,000 from the Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency (PAMI)."
LTFRB suspended the entire fleet of Dimple Star Bus company on Friday. The 30-day suspension covers all 118 bus units under 10 Certificates of Public Convenience (CPC) issued to Dimple Star Bus and its owner, Hilbert Napat. – With reports from Mick Basa/Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.