By Niño Luces
SAN FERNANDO, Camarines Sur – Thirteen passengers were confirmed dead while 32 others were injured when a truck lost its brakes while traversing the downhill portion of the road in Brgy. Tagpocol, San Fernando town, Camarines Sur province on Saturday afternoon.
Patrolman Nestor Adriatico, assistant Police Community Relation (PCR) officer told the Manila Bulletin that as of 7 a.m. Sunday, 7 were killed – five died on the spot while two died while being treated at the Bicol Medical Center (BMC) in Naga City.
“Sa ngayon po, sa record namin, pito yung patay. Pero may nakarating na sa amin na 13 na daw yung namatay. Yan po ay for verification pa. Pati yung injured ay 37 sa record namin, pero hindi pa rin yan actual kasi more than 50 yata yung sakay ng truck,” Adriatico said.
In a follow up report, Patrolman Arnulf Llabres, PCR chief of San Fernando Municipal Police Station (MPS) confirmed that as of 11 a.m. on Sunday, 13 were already dead.
“Sa ngayon, anim na lang yung nasa BMC, 45 lahat yung pasahero. Lima yung dead on the spot at yung iba sa ospital na namatay. Hindi na po muna kami makakabigay ng pangalan kasi nakiusap yung pamilya ng mga biktima na huwag na muna ilabas yung mga pangalan,” Llabres told the Manila Bulletin.
He said that among those who died while being treated at the hospital was a bride-to-be for whom the “pamamanhikan” (asking for the woman’s parent’s permission) was held.
“Nakausap pa ng mga pulis yung babae na pinamanhikan, pero namatay din. Putol yung kanyang mga paa,” he said.
Llabres said that two children, age four and five, were among the fatalities. Most of those who died were women.
Investigation disclosed that while the Foton truck, registered to LGU San Fernando, being driven by Mario De Luna Jacobo was traversing the downhill portion of the highway, it lost its breaks, slammed into the shoulder of the road and rolled over. Five of its passengers died on the spot while the other victims were rushed to BMC for treatment.
“Galing sa coastal barangay ng San Fernando yung truck kasi namanhikan. Pauwi na sila nung mangyari ang aksidente. Yung lalaki na namanhikan, nagpa-iwan kaya di nakasama sa aksidente. Yung babae, sumama sa truck kaya nakasama sa aksidente,” Adriatico explained.
Adriatico said that according to the driver, prior to the accident, he already noticed that the breaks of the truck were weak.
“Buhay yung driver. Hindi naman siya lasing nung mangyari ang aksidente. Sabi niya, papunta pa lang daw sila dun sa coastal barangay, napansin na niya na mahina yung preno,” he narrated.
San Fernando Mayor Fermin Mabulo assured the victims that the local government unit (LGU) will extend help especially to the families of those who perished in the accident.
Police said they were investigating the possible liability of the driver.
Road accidents are common in the Philippines, where inadequately maintained buses and poorly trained drivers form the backbone of land transport options.
A lawmaker has criticized the nation’s regulators over unsafe vehicles, saying they allowed “rolling coffins” to ply the roads. (With a report from AFP)