Cebu mayors doubt ban on trucks-A A +A
Sunday, August 21, 2011
CEBU CITY -- Not a single dump truck will be used Sunday when a community in Barili proceeds to the burial of 10 people who died on their way to a funeral last Thursday.
But in the long run, Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas said people are likely to plead for rides on government-owned dump trucks, in the absence of more passenger vehicles in remote barangays.
A criminal complaint was filed Saturday against Alwin Bayno, who drove the town-owned dump truck that lost its brakes and flipped more than once in Balao, Barili last Thursday afternoon. More than 50 passengers were injured.
Mayor Mariñas said the requiem for the 10 will be held at 1 p.m. in the Sta. Ana Church.
After that, the families and friends of the deceased will go on foot to the Barili Catholic Cemetery, which is a kilometer away.
Various multicabs from different barangays in Barili, along with jeepneys and motorcycles, will be ready to transport residents from Barangay Kangdampas, where most of the victims came from, said the mayor.
“We already have directives not to use the dump trucks. Even without it, we would not have considered the idea, to prevent further accidents,” he said.
However, the mayor suggested that the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) ask the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 to defer implementation of its memo that forbids the use of government dump trucks to ferry people.
“This (memorandum) may be raised to the LMP so the mayors can come up with a stand, while there are no four-wheel vehicles,” Mariñas said over radio dyLA.
Interviewed separately, Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia said local governments would have a hard time complying with DILG 7 Director Pedro Noval’s memo.
Using dump trucks as passenger vehicles has become a common practice in the mountain barangays, he said. (Garcia is the LMP Cebu Chapter president.)
He added that towns had to use dump trucks during the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo Festival of Festivals earlier this month to transport their dancers to the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
Garcia said he may ask Noval to amend his directive and let the LGU’s use dump trucks on a case-to-case basis like emergencies, especially since ambulances can’t maneuver their way to the mountains.
“Di gyud malikayan ang mga tawo nga mohangyo gyud (Inevitably, people will request to use the dump trucks),” he said.
In the meantime, driver Bayno will face a case of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide, filed Saturday at the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
PO2 Hector Veloso, chief investigator of the Barili Police Station, said in a phone interview the physical injuries complaint will be filed later, because they still have to get the survivors’ affidavits.
Bayno had more than 60 passengers and a coffin aboard when he drove the town’s dump truck to Barangay Poblacion. They were on their way to bury a neighbor, Tranquelina Jagbil, 69.
Bayno, who started driving at the age of 18 in 1992, said that when they were going downhill, the rubber cap exploded and he lost control of the vehicle.
The dump truck skidded and some of the passengers jumped off. Eight passengers were pinned when the truck overturned, and instantly died.
Two passengers died later in the hospital.
“Di na ta nako idagan, di naman mohunong (It wouldn’t stop),” Bayno said in a radio dyHP interview.
Bayno also denied he jumped off the dump truck first. He admitted he had two bottles of beer with a friend before he drove the truck. But a liquor test showed Bayno was not drunk when he drove the truck.
“Unsaon ta man, nahitabo man ni?” he said, adding that what happened was beyond his control.
About 50 of those injured were brought to the Barili District Hospital but were transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City, some 60 kilometers away.
Several hospital ambulances from neighboring towns transported the injured victims.
As of Saturday, 15 were still confined in the hospital, according to James Bajenting, clerical aid of VSMMC.
Six of them were in the trauma center, while others were placed in various hospital wards.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu Province, third district) are assisting the victims with their expenses.
For one of the youngest survivors, Ashley Cereño, 2, part of the ordeal is that she has yet to see her mother since Thursday’s accident.
Her mother Cecilia, 29, is under doctor’s orders for a complete bed rest, while she recovers from surgery. She can’t stand up or walk yet, due to injuries in her back. Her left eye is swollen and she has bandage around her head.
She and her daughter are a few rooms apart in the government-run hospital.
“Gimingaw pud ko sa akong baby. Mangita gyud na siya nako (I miss my baby terribly. I’m sure she’s wondering where I am),” she said.
Both of them were seated in the front portion of the dump truck when the accident happened.
Cecilia recalled she embraced Ashley tight to protect her from the impact.
Ashley is recovering, but needs to use a nebulizer so she can inhale medication, which has been vaporized.
Her father Margarito, 34, uses it on her every 15 minutes, every day. Margarito has had to juggle his time in the hospital to tend to his wife and his baby.
“Lisod gyud kaayo. Puro nako mga pinalangga ang naaksidente (It’s very difficult seeing my loved ones hurt in that accident),” he said. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2011.