BAGUIO CITY - The health agency in the Cordillera region said deaths and injuries from road accidents increased by more than 100 percent in just two months compared to last year's four-month period.

Elnoria Bugnosen, Department of Health (DOH)-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) emergency management officer, said for the period of May to July 14 this year alone, 25 deaths were already reported with an unprecedented 157 number of injured passengers due to motor vehicle accidents, compared to the three deaths and 29 injuries from January to May last year.

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Bugnosen said this report is already a cause for alarm as "we are only in the middle of the year but the figures have been increasing by more than 100 percent in just two months in the region."

From January to July 14 this year, the agency has already registered 46 deaths.

The cases mostly happened in Besao, Mountain Province with 15 deaths and 15 injured passengers due to a bus falling off a ravine. Other accidents have happened in Tublay, Tuba, Atok, Kibungan and Buguias in Benguet, Besao, Bontoc, Tadian, and Barlig in Mountain Province as well as in Tabuk, Kalinga.

In 2009, the three deaths and 29 injuries were only recorded from the towns of Sagada in Mountain Province, Boliney in Abra, and Tuba in Benguet.

Data from the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Traffic Management Branch (TMB) also revealed 146 physical injury cases due to reckless imprudence resulting to homicide from January to July this year.

The TMB also recorded another 60 cases for damage to property due to reckless driving.

For the month of June alone, the TMB also recorded 21 traffic-related incidents and five cases of hit and run accidents involving mostly school children.

In a press conference Tuesday, BCPO officer-in-charge Roberto Soriano said these cases of hit and run should be both the concern of parents and the police as the safety of children are both their utmost concern.

Bugnosen said road accidents have been tagged as the fourth leading cause of mortality next to cardiovascular, pulmonary diseases, and cancer.

Bugnosen also assured the preparedness of hospitals in the region for large-scale vehicular accidents.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and other DOH-handled hospitals have been performing well in the past years, she added.

"We are procuring equipment as much as we could as we tap private institutions to help us address our lack of facilities and equipment especially during disasters," she added. (JM Agreda of Sun.Star Baguio/Sunnex)