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News Commentary

Smiling faces of dead passengers greet Florida bus firm

Venice Amoroso -

MANILA, Philippines - Employees of the GV Florida station in Sampaloc, Manila are now being greeted by smiling faces of those who died in a mishap involving one of the firm's units last February.

A painting depicting dead people’s smiling faces offers an unusual or even a creepy view to workers of the company being blamed for their demise.

But for the bereaved families and friends of the victims, it is a way to deliver a message.

“I hope they (GV Florida Transport) get it,” said Lei Jimenez, wife of Arvin “Tado” Jimenez, the activist comedian who died in the bus accident in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

The words came out of Jimenez as she was looking at the street art being done by a group of artists who gathered in front of the bus station Saturday afternoon.

“If you look at them, they are smiling right? (They are) facing Florida,” she said with a hint of sarcasm.

Jimenez said it has been four months since the tragedy but the bus company has yet to reach out to the families of the 15 fatalities.

“Maybe later or tomorrow they will remember it. It’s not their fault but it’s their liability,” she added.

Dino Dimar, head of the project and one of the survivors, said the paintings aim to raise awareness about the need for transport companies to prioritize the safety of their passengers.

“We do this not only for Florida but also for everyone. It’s a reminder to drive safely, that you are driving for your family. Your passengers are the members of your family,” he said.

The paintings contained reminders like “We drive safely” and “We check our brake.”

Dimar said Florida is helping the victims and their families with their medical expenses.

However, the communication between the bus company and the families of victims who are in Bontoc is limited.

“This is not only for ourselves. This is also for those who are in Bontoc who don’t have any communication with Florida,” Dimar said.

“It’s easy for us who are here in Metro Manila but what about our companions who are in the province?”

Fifteen people died and 32 others were injured when a GV Florida Transport bus lost its break and fell off a ravine last February 7.

Each family of the 15 fatalities is entitled to receive P150,000 – P100,000 from the bus company and P50,000 from the insurance firm.

Last March, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board revoked the franchise of Florida’s 10 bus units playing the Manila- Sagada-Bontoc route for violating road safety rules.

The Board also slapped a six month suspension on G.V. Florida's 188 buses.

BONTOC

BUS

DIMAR

DINO DIMAR

FLORIDA

FLORIDA TRANSPORT

JIMENEZ

LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD

LAST MARCH

LEI JIMENEZ

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