Sep 082009
 

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With national elections due in 2010 proposals for a National Transportation Safety Board in the Philippines which would provide independent safety investigation of incidents like the Superferry 9 disaster seem unlikely to come to fruition after two years in committee.

The proposal was filed in the Philippine Congress in July 2007 by Rodolfo Biazon, a former army officer, and Ruffino Rozzano. It has remained with the Congressional committee for transportation since late that month.

The bill would create an independent, non-regulatory body to investigate transport accidents including those involving shipping. Currently there is no independent investigative body in the Philippines with maritime casualties coming under the industry regulator, the Maritime Industry Authority, MARINA, as well as the Philippine Coast Guard, the maritime law enforcement agency which itself is subject of another bill to transfer it to the Department of Transportation.

With only a few months remaining of the current legislature, the term of which expires with that of the president, it would appear that there would be insufficient time for the bill to complete its requisite three readings in Congress, with another three readings for an as-yet unproposed counterpart bill in the Philippine Senate, and for a committee to combine the two bills into a single piece of legislation for approval at a vote.

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