March 24, 2023

The Regional Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in the Cordillera has started the test run of its “HPG-Cares” program to address road accidents in the region.
HPG-CAR Director Lt/Col. Jose Wilson Denamarca, said in a recent press conference, that the region does not have a problem on hijacking, and car theft but faces a big problem on road accidents due to steep slopes and terrain, as well as vehicles running without assurance of being roadworthy.
From January to August, there were 919 road crashes in the Cordillera, most of them in Benguet’s highways. This number is lower than the 1,829 incidents in 2019 attributed to the quarantine measures that prevented people from traveling.
During the test run conducted on Aug. 26, only 39 out of the 109 vehicles randomly inspected on the roads in Baguio passed the 10-point inspection for roadworthiness, and 46 out of 120 passed during the Sept. 3 inspection.
Mark Ingram, a retired British Army who is volunteering with HPG and chief implementer of the program, said that 10 things are checked during the inspection. They are the headlights, tail lights, break/reverse, left and right signal light and hazard lights; gauges, door handles and locks; horn, mirror, wipers and washers; tires and spare wheel nuts; and basic tools and early warning device.
He said these are the things that must be checked every week to assure the safety of the vehicle.
The most common faults found were worn out tires and lack of brake light, tools, and early warning devices. Private vehicles haves the most violations.
Denamarca said that during the inspection, there were no citation tickets issued, but a reminder for the vehicle owner or driver to ensure compliance.
“The contact information of the driver or owner is taken and we call to ask if they have already complied to remind them of the safety measure. We want them to correct the faults that is why we call them,” he said.
Had they issued citation tickets, a worn-out tire has a P5,000 penalty which could be added to the reckless driving fine of P2,000.
He said that the HPG-Cares program will be implemented at highways on a regular basis, as a deterrent to accidents.
The program was conceived as the HPG’s response to the numerous road crashes incidents in the region said HPG Regional Advisory Council Chair Carlos Rivera.
“Implementation of rules is one thing but continued information dissemination about road and vehicle safety, where our volunteers and marshals who help in the road safety inspection program is another important factor which can contribute to everyone’s safety,” Rivera said.
He said that the public should be made aware that by assuring the roadworthiness of their vehicles, they are also safeguarding themselves and the public. – PNA