8 City Express buses suspended after Samal accident

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


DAVAO CITY -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) suspended the operations of eight buses of the Island City Express after one of its units figured in an accident that killed five persons in the Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) on Tuesday.

One of those killed is the driver of the bus. Twenty-two passengers were also injured in the accident.

Edgar Violan, LTFRB-Davao spokesperson, said they have already issued the 30-day suspension pending investigation on the incident.

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He said they have decided to suspend only one of the two franchises of the bus company, which covered the eight suspended units, due to the exodus of passengers during All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

Violan said the Island City Express has one more franchise that covers 15 units.

"The suspension did not cover 15 other buses in anticipation of the expected demand for transportation during Undas," Violan said in a telephone interview.

He said the suspension takes effect Wednesday morning upon receipt of the management and will last for 30 days during which the Land Transportation Office (LTO) office in Davao will test and inspect the roadworthiness of the company's eight units.

He added that the company’s drivers and conductors will also be required to attend driving seminar and undergo drug tests.

Violan said the bus unit with plate number LWU 812 was on its way to Kaputian from Penaplata around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when it encountered a mechanical problem upon reaching sitio 20 in Barangay Poblacion, causing the driver to lose control of the brake and hit the roadside slope. [Read story: 8 dead, 19 hurt as bus rams roadside slope in Samal]

Five people (not eight as earlier reported), including the driver, identified as Simforiano Rubio Jr., died on the spot.

Those injured are now undergoing treatment at Southern Philippines Medical Center, San Pedro Hospital (SPH), and Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH).

As part of the investigation on the incident, Violan said they have scheduled a hearing on November 6.

"We require them (management) to submit a detailed explanation on what really happened," he said.

He said the bus company management received the notice of suspension Wednesday morning.

At the end of the 30-day investigation, Violan said the LTFRB will decide if the Island City Express will be penalized because of the accident.

Violan said the unit is covered by Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency Inc. (Pami).

As far as their monitoring is concerned, he said the management is extending medical assistance to injured victims being treated at various hospitals in Davao City.

In a separate interview, Jimmy Uy, general manager of Island City Express, said Igacos Mayor Aniano Antalan is expected to submit a formal letter to LTFRB-Davao Director Benjamin Go requesting for the postponement of the 30-day suspension.

He said the city mayor wants the suspension to start on November 6 instead.

On the other hand, Antalan, who happened to be with Uy on Wednesday, said he appealed to LTFRB to delay the effectivity of the suspension to a later date as they are expecting an exodus of more passengers to the island city to visit and pay respect to their departed loved ones.

"Kasi alam naman natin isa ang bus sa means of transportation ng mga tao sa Igacos," Antalan told Sun.Star Davao.

Antalan also said the City Government and the bus company are ready to assist families of those killed in the accident.

Uy said they have paid for the downpayment of each of the victims' confinement in the hospital.

"Wala mi nagpabaya, in fact, nasa private room pa sila," Uy said.

He said representatives of Pami arrived on Wednesday to hasten the processing of the documents needed.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council officer Janos Rafaliles identified those passengers killed as Mary Hazel Monion of Davao City; Milagros Cahanap of Malvar Street, Davao City; Marjun Rin Senok of Barangay Sion, Igacos; and Alfredo Baja, a resident of Barangay Bunawan, Davao City.

In an interview over GMA5's "Una ka Bai" on Wednesday, Janus Rafailes, executive officer of the Igacos Disaster Office, said of the 19 injured passengers brought to SPMC, 12 are still being treated while seven have already been already discharged. (With ICT/Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 01, 2012.

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