By Erma Edera and Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
A 14-wheel truck loaded with tons of sand fell into a five-foot deep hole at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Remedios Street in Manila before dawn Sunday.
But what was initially described as a “sinkhole” turns out to be drainage culvert that collapsed under the weight of the truck.
According to Michael Lagco, the driver of the truck bearing “Manila Bay Task Force” mark, they came from Pampanga and were heading to the Manila Baywalk to deliver tons of sand for the Manila Bay rehabilitation project when they suddenly fell into the hole at around 1 a.m. on June 23. Lagco and his two passengers escaped unhurt.
Lagco said they were supposed to pass through Roxas Boulevard’s main road, but traffic enforcers directed them to take the service road to give way for the Manila Marathon 2019 event. It was in the area where the accident happened.
The corner of Remedios Street corner Roxas Boulevard was temporarily closed to traffic as authorities were still finding ways to extricate the truck out of the hole.
Secretary Mark Villar said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is currently investigating the incident. He said that the double-barrel box culvert on Remedios Street was constructed in the 1970s.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) will be sending personnel on Monday to check on the situation.
“Per our chief of Geological Division, he has also no idea of the sinkhole but he suspects it might be a result of some construction works failure or collapse of drainage ways,” Leones said.
Meanwhile, Science and Technology Undersecretary Renato Solidum said the hole is essentially a drainage canal, whose concrete cover collapsed due to the weight of the truck that passed over it.”
“Not really a real sinkhole,” he added.
Arnel Isanan, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sector commander for Roxas Boulevard, said on Sunday morning that it would take some time to remove the truck from the hole. (with a report from Marjaleen Ramos)