INVEST in vehicles, such as buses, that could provide a safer mode of transportation for passengers, especially those hailing from far-flung areas.
So said Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III following the road mishap in Boljoon town that claimed the lives of nine persons on Friday morning, July 19, 2019.
The fatalities—seven pupils and two adults—were on board a mini dump truck owned by the Municipal Government of Boljoon and driven by Danilo Niere. Sixteen others were injured.
“The problem is the lack of vehicles in the hinterlands to transport people. That’s why other local government units (LGU) would be forced to use dump trucks because they have no other vehicle available.... The LGUs should also perhaps invest in vehicles, not necessarily dump trucks, but those that can address problems on transportation in far-flung barangays,” Davide said during an interview on Monday, July 22.
At 3:45 p.m on the same day, Niere was charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries before the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. Police Staff Sergeant Nelson Saquibal, investigator, said he has yet to get Niere’s medical results to check if the driver was under the influence of liquor or drugs when the incident happened.
Using dump trucks as passenger vehicles is a common practice in mountain barangays as these can maneuver in difficult terrain and these have a larger carrying capacity than the average vehicles.
The mini dump truck’s passengers in last Friday’s road mishap were mostly pupils of the elementray schools in barangays Nangka, San Antonio and Upper Becerril. The pupils were on their way to attend the opening of a district meet related to the Nutrition Month celebration in the town center.
The dump truck was traversing a downhill portion when the driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to fall on its side.
Davide suggested to the Department of Education (DepEd) that it should also invest in at least one school bus per LGU to ensure the safety and security of students participating in academic or sports events.
He further said the LGUs and DepEd may also tap the private sector, which could donate buses as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Davide agreed with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who said that the town and city mayors should make sure that the frontliners in public service, such as drivers, undergo proper training to ensure safety and security. (RTF, WBS)