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Fight for commuter safety continues for Tado's Bicolana wife, friends and family of other Bontoc bus crash victims

OPINION:

ONE YEAR AFTER THE GV FLORIDA BUS CRASH IN BONTOC:
FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS GATHER TO REMEMBER


It has been almost a year since that tragic bus crash in Bontoc that killed 15 people and left physical and emotional scars on others who survived and their families. Almost one year after, we commemorate the lives of those who have perished — people who, had they been still alive, would have been making their dreams come true. It was, after all, a bus full of dreamers.

While we continue to mourn for our loss, we still seek for justice. Up to this day, the criminal case has not moved forward and some families still have not been given compensation due them. And while we seek for justice, we also seek for reforms in our public transport system. No family should ever have to go through losing a loved one because of the irresponsibility and lack of accountability of bus companies in ensuring that the riding public has a safe, convenient, and comfortable commute.

Everyday, thousands of people ride the bus, most of which are no longer road worthy or whose drivers are over worked or under trained. Everyday, thousands of people put their lives on the line just to go to their destinations. Everyday, thousands of lives are at risk. We urge the public to be vigilant about our public transport system.

We commemorate the 1st anniversary of the tragedy to remember our loved ones that perished that day and celebrate the full lives they lived. We commemorate to remind the public that this incident should never happen again, to remain steadfast and vigilant in ensuring reforms in our transport system.


In commemoration of the 1st Anniversary of the Bontoc Bus Tragedy, families and friends of victims and the survivors organized a series of activities. The events will kick off tonight with the gathering at Sev’s Café, Malate, Manila. Below are the events that will happen to commemorate the anniversary.


February 4-8, 2015 (Wednesday to Sunday)

Feb. 4, Wed
7pm | Gathering at Sev's Cafe
Kick Off for the commemoration of the 1st Anniversary



Feb. 7 Sat
Online Launch of Campaign for Road Safety (organized by DAKILA)
6am | Commemoration Ride, Mt. Polis to Bontoc (organized by Charley and Paeng)
6am | Bike in Marikina (organized by Tado's Family)
7pm | Gig at Ta-as (organized by friends of David and Gerard)

Feb 8 Sun
10am | Catholic Mass at Barangay Talubin near the Crash Site
7pm | Gig at Cabina Resto Bar (organized by Cabardo Family)
Tribute climb at Mt. Manabu, Sto. Tomas, Batangas (organized by Chris Linag and friends)



In line with this, the artist collective DAKILA, co-founded by Tado Jimenez, has created a campaign for the public to hold bus companies accountable for a safe and convenient commute. A new mobile app/website dubbed as “PARA sa PILIPINAS” aims to serve as a platform where the commuting public are able to air their grievances on their bus commute experiences and rate the services of bus companies according to the standards of public safety, comfort and convenience. The campaign will be launched online on February 7, the day of the anniversary of the bus crash.



One year ago, the lives of the families and friends of those who rode that bus on that fateful day of February 7, 2014, intertwined. We found ourselves confronted with the failure of our country’s transportation system to bring our loved ones safely to their destinations. We were ordinary people who transversed this unusual journey.

A year ago, amidst our grief, we dealt with the intricacies of our transport laws, the complexities of the legal matters, the public attention of this case. We buried our loved ones with questions unanswered. Why did this tragedy happen?

In the past months, all of us coped with the grief of this tragedy in the best way we all can. We gathered to paint a mural in front of the GV Florida bus station as part of our healing process to express our grief and loss, longing and missing, finding meaning, and our desire for change. We suffered harassment from unknown forces that wanted to silence us. We were never cowed.

We gather again to remind the public and ourselves that every bus is a bus full of dreamers; that every passenger has a dream, may it be for oneself or others. It is a reminder that among us are fathers and mothers who travel to work and back, dreaming to provide the best for their families; students, who dream of brighter futures; travelers, who dream to see places, interact with different people, and in the process enriching themselves and making new bonds; and missionaries, who go to places most people would not go just to help, educate, evangelize, and reach out. 

We gather again to call for reforms in the Philippine transport system. What happened in February 7, 2014 should never happen again. We call on the government, transport service providers and the commuting public; let us all do our share in making transport safe for everyone.

We gather, most of all, to remember. The 15 who perished will never be just names and statistics. They are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, daughters, brother, sisters, relatives, colleagues and friends.

We will continue to look for justice until justice is served and we will continue to fight for reforms until reforms are achieved. We will continue this dream because every bus is a bus full of dreamers.

In memoriam,
1. Alex Loring

2. Ana Cruz

3. Andrew David Sicam

4. Anne Martina Adriana Van De Ven

5. Arvin “Tado” Jimenez

6. Christian “Mylo” Cabardo

7. Emily Gentalian

8. Gerald Baja

9. Giovanni “Bam” Morillo

10. Johnathan Patulot

11. Katrina Gozos

12. Leah Reyes

13. Marcial “Don” Baranda Jr.

14. Natividad Ngawa

15. Rosalina Reyes

--Dakila

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