Grab, LTFRB add insult to fatal injury

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1988

THE INSURANCE policy imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on transport network groups only serves the interest of big companies and not ordinary passengers.

In light of the recent Grab-car accident involving the death of a Thomasian engineering senior, Marko de Guzman, the public has started to notice the lapses on the insurance program of the company.

De Guzman was aboard a Grab car last Oct. 26 on Taft Avenue when it crashed into the post of the Light Railway System. The driver had later admitted he was sleepy.

De Guzman suffered brain damage. He was rushed to the Manila Doctors Hospital where he died a month later, on Nov. 27. By that time, the bills had accumulated to P3 million.

But Grab said based on the LTFRB policy, the maximum amount of assistance it could give was only P200,000. Observers noted that the LTFRB and Grab policy had all along been vaguely defined and there was lack of transparency.

“We need justice here… I’ve been receiving messages from strangers saying they lost their child sa Grab accidents pero wala raw [tulong] na binigay kahit financial help,” Luz told the Varsitarian.

Little did passengers know, Grab’s insurance system was only anchored on the insurance policy drafted by the LTFRB, which looks like the real culprit in this case.

LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2015-028 states that passengers are entitled monetary reimbursement ranging from P3,000 up to P200,000, for accidental inuries and even death.

But the P200,000 monetary reimbursement is not enough, specifically on cases like the death of Marko.

While it is true that money could never replace a life that was lost from the accident, this would not erase the fact that Grab should be liable to what happened to the victim.

The LTFRB should rethink and update its policies as P200,000 would not be enough to, at least, support the medical expenses of the family following a month-long confinement of the victim.

Luz de Guzman, mother of Marko, told the Varsitarian that they tried to reach out to Grab, invoking their insurance policy as grounds for the ride-hailing company to financially assist them.

The public was again the victim of lax enforcement and business-oriented policies. LTFRB failed to strictly enforce a safe transport service and allowed Grab to flood the streets knowing that its drivers and passengers’ insurance has a limit.

Grab, claiming to be the Messiah of the problematic public transportation system in the country, should stick to its promises that it would financially aid those involved in the accident without imposing a vague insurance policy that misleads the public into thinking they are well-compensated when they incur an accident.

The death of Marko should be a wake-up call for LTFRB to step up and improve its policies in policing big companies like Grab. LTFRB’s reimbursement cap should be updated from time to time so as to compliment inflation rates.

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