CA Backs LTFRB Order to Equip All Buses with GPS

The Court of Appeals (CA) decided in favor of a Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) order that requires the mandatory installation of global positioning system (GPS) devices in all public utility buses (PUBs).

The CA Special 12th Division resolved to deny the motion for reconsideration filed by the Nagkakaisang Samahan ng mga Nangangasiwa ng Panlalawigang Bus sa Pilipinas (formerly known as Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines or PBOAP), stating that they found the arguments raised by the bus operators as meritless, and upheld the February 27, 2018 Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) decision favoring the LTFRB.

"After a careful scrutiny of the arguments raised in the instant motion, this court finds that the same must be denied for lack of merit," the CA said in its resolution written by Associate Justice Rafael Antonio Santos. "The instant motion does not raise new and substantial issues that would warrant the reversal of this court's decision dated February 27, 2018."

The transport group argued that the LTFRB order was enacted without research or study and that GPS devices on PUBs will not necessarily curb speeding and reduce road accidents involving said vehicles.

However, the CA retorted that the installation of GPS devices is a "well-thought-out and carefully deliberated plan," and well within the LTFRB’s authority as specified in the Administrative Code of 1987.

LTFRB's memo Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2015-21,which orders all PUBs to have a GPS device installed by the end of April 2017, cites a study by the University of the Philippines-National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NTS) that indicates how speed regulation has the potential to reduce the amount of road accidents in the country.

The court reinforced the penalties that will be put in place to compel bus operators to install GPS devices in their buses. Operators who fail to have GPS devices installed will have to pay a fine of PHP5,000 per bus.

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