A THREE-YEAR-OLD boy was the last person to be recovered by rescuers among the nine fatalities following a deadly vehicular collision on Tuesday morning, June 11, in Matina Pangi, Davao City.
He was lifeless when discovered after half of his body was buried under debris and sacks of rice. Rescuers found the child’s body with his food sticking out after an hour of going through rubble and rice sacks.
Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Police Colonel Alexander Tagum said the mother of the child identified as Emily Dionela Viernes, 36, was found dead on the spot. Prior to the incident, the mother was holding her son, Rabbi Kylle Viernes, while on board a trisikad when the truck hit them.
“The child was covered by sacks of rice after he was thrown off from the embrace of his mother,” Tagum said. His body was found near where the wrecked Sikad that they were riding on prior to the incident.
Tagum said they were informed that someone told one of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responders that the mother was carrying a toddler. This led them to search the kid among th debris.
“Naningkamut jud pangita sa ilalum sa truck ug pile sa sako sa bugas ang responders until ng nakita ang tiil ug kamut sa bata. Ang ulo sa bata nalublob pud sa tubig sa kanal. Based sa observations namu sa mga EMS ganina- naipit maayo ang ulo sa bata ug injured, deformed ang upper torso niya (The responders checked under the truck and went through the pile of rice sacks until they found the feet and hands of the child. The head was submerged in canal water. Based on the EMS’ observations, the child’s head was heavily pressed under the rubble and his upper torso was injured and deformed),” he said.
Racky Viernes, father and husband of the victims, expressed disbelief of what happened to his wife and son. He shared on his Facebook page photos, originally posted on June 9, of when they ate out together not knowing that it will be their last family dine out. He said that he has to be strong for their two other children.
“I have to be strong para kay Rap2 lalo na sa iya medication ug Rain sa ila pag eskwela...Life must move on...Ma, wala jud ka pananghid...diretso lang jud ang panghitabo [sic],” he said.
Tagum said the multiple vehicular collision happened around 9:30 a.m. at the junction Matina Pangi Road and CP Garcia Highway involving nine vehicles, including a Trailer truck Wing van, Toyota High Ace Van, KIA Sportage, Honda CRV, Mitsubishi L300, TMX with Sidecar, Avanza, Suzuki AVP, and Multicab.
The incident resulted to nine fatalities -- six male, two female, and the toddler -- while two other persons who are in critical condition were rushed to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Other victims were identified as Jhonnyvee Congcong Ustan, 32; Renato Congcong Lozada, 54; Sister Carmen Remoroza Saniel, 62, of Revier Retreat House of Ulas, Davao City; Danny San Luis, 62, driver of Avanza while his grandson - Leonardo, 8, who was earlier admitted at Sanitarium Hospital is now discharged and in stable condition. Three more bodies of the men were still unidentified and lie at Villa Funeral Parlor.
“Initial investigation revealed that the driver of said Wing Van truck, identified as Joel Sinampay Aras, 36, married and a resident of Camananan, Cagayan de Oro was traversing to CP Garcia Highway coming from Sasa and heading to Calinan when allegedly he lost his truck’s brake near Pheonix gas station and sped off towards corner Guadalupe of Km 5 towards Matina Pangi,” the report said.
Cases of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, serious physical injury, and damage to property are being prepared to be filed against the truck’s driver.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Davao to look into the road condition where the incident happened and assess what are the mechanisms to be done to prevent another accident.
“So ang immediate action sa atoang City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office is to put up a big sign before sa panaog and before sa pasaka. It’s a downhill curving road na possibly masalubong nimo ang other way nga padulong nga sakyanan,” she said.
She reminded the drivers to avoid overloading and adhere to the carrying capacity of a truck to avoid a mechanical problem, always check the brakes before traveling to ensure its roadworthiness, and be cautious when traversing an unfamiliar road.
Duterte-Carpio likewise said that the city government will give burial assistance to the family of the victims.