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Solon says families of Tanay field trip tragedy victims can sue school despite the waiver
When House Bill 1434 becomes the “Teachers and Students Accident Insurance Act” victims of future road mishaps will get accident coverage.
1-ANG EDUKASYON Party-list Rep. Salvador “Bong” Belaro, Jr. a former college of law dean and a private school administrator himself, opined in the case of Tanay field trip tragedy, that families of those killed and those injured can still sue the school who organized the trip despite the waiver that the parents or guardians signed.
“A waiver is a form of contract. Though signed by both parties, liability waivers are unenforceable contracts when it is proven that the school was negligent in ensuring the safety of students and teachers and personnel such as in the case of Galloway v. State of Iowa,” Rep. Belaro, a former commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said.
Last Monday, at least 15 college students died after the tourist bus they were riding slammed into an electricity post in Barangay Sampaloc in Tanay.
Author of HB 1434, Rep. Belaro said that this law shall assure survivors and the families of accident victims that they will be able to claim compensation if accidents occur. 
Pending before the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, HB 1439 seeks to provide insurance protection to both teachers and students who may encounter accidents within the school premises or during school-related activities such as field trips.
“Accidents can happen to teachers and students during laboratory activities, inter-school sports competitions, or field trips. For that, we must ensure that financial help to victims shall be available fast in case untoward incidents happen,” Rep. Belaro said.
“The insurance claim is apart from the civil liability claims they could get in case the victims files case before the regular court and win. Pursuing an insurance claim is a much faster remedy than the claims they could get from the courts,” Rep. Belaro adds.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said in statement that the commission will check whether policies on the conduct of field trips were met by Bestlink College of Novaliches, the organizer of the excursion.
If passed into a law, the measure shall mandate the government to pay for the accident insurance coverage of public school students in the elementary, high school and college; while the private school owners shall shoulder the insurance premiums of the teachers they employ and the students enrolled in their school.
The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education has yet to hear the side of the stakeholders who will be affected by these measure like private school owners and parents’ & teachers’ associations.
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