BALBALAN, Kalinga – Fourteen senior citizens died while twenty five others were injured when an alleged overloaded passenger jeepney plunged into an 80-meter ravine along the provincial road at Binalagan, Dao-angan, here, around 2:30 pm Tuesday.
Police authorities identified the fatalities as Victorino Banglagan; Soledad Dammay; Eliza Amoga; Rosario Badong; Isabel Bagni; Agida Palangdao; Lolita Latawan; William Gamongan; Leota Maday; Angelina Benito; Benjamin Badong; Terresa Dulansi; Annie Baluga and Martin Canao while those injured were named as Arnel Banglagan; Laika Barbosa; Manuel Banguingan; Jennifer Esteban; Pedro Maday; Lolita Gullitis; Anna Bagwinga; Imelda Cuzon; Caridad Palicas; Irene Dammay; Agida Palangdao; Mercedez Kingbao; Joselyn Gannisi; Soccoro Naganag; Necita Daggay; Bartolome Balcanao; Patricio Maday; Mariano Palicas; Leonarda Dumaguing; Conchita Canao; Sonia Barbosa; Condordia Manadao; Francisco Gumaad, Jr.; Edmund Duguit and Nanette Gamongan.
Kalinga Police Director Senior Superintendent Alfredo Dangani said that the passenger jeepney loaded with more or less 50 senior citizens came from Poblacionn and were en route to Dao-angan after receiving their quarterly social pension benefit from the officials and personnel of the Cordillera office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR). Prior to reaching the critical portion of the road in the said place, the driver allegedly requested the individuals who were on top of the vehicle to go down and walk for a certain distance to reach the safer portion of the road while he will maneuver the vehicle away from the dangerous portion of the provincial road.
However, the police official revealed that upon reaching the descending portion of the critical portion of the road, the engine of the motor vehicle suddenly shut off that caused the driver to lose control of the same until it plunged into an 80-meter deep ravine in the area.
He claimed that 13 passengers allegedly died on the spot while one of the injured died in the hospital. The other victims were rushed to the different hospitals in the province for medical treatment.
Sources from the area claimed that there are really critical unpaved and narrow sections of the provincial road that have yet to be rehabilitated or upgraded, thus, motorists are reportedly exposed to extreme danger when passing through the said portions of the road and that drivers need to observe extra caution in maneuvering their vehicles to prevent the occurrence of untoward incidents that will pose a serious threat to life and limb.
Provincial Administrator Henry Gupaal disclosed that Gov. Jocel C. Baac immediately directed personnel of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) to deliver to the families of the fatalities and the injured senior citizens the appropriate assistance from the provincial government that included rice supply among others.
Gupaal added that the hospitalization and medicines of the injured senior citizens will also be shouldered by the provincial government considering that 8 of the 25 injured passengers are still confined at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital while another was rushed to the St. Paul Hospital in nearby Tugergarao City, Cagayan for further medical treatment because of the gravity of the injuries he sustained due to the said accident.
This story, first published on Baguio Herald Express, is produced under the Bloomberg Initiative Global Road Safety Media Fellowship implemented by the World Health Organization, Department of Transportation and VERA Files.