VALLACAR Transit Inc., operator of Ceres buses in the Visayas and Mindanao, has 72 hours to explain why its franchise should not be suspended or canceled, following the accident involving one of its buses in Carmen, Cebu last Sunday.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)-Central Visayas Director Ahmed Cuizon ordered Vallacar to submit an accident report, police report and other related documents, including those documenting the assistance it extended to the victims.
He also ordered the bus firm to submit a Motor Vehicle Inspection Service conducted by the Land Transportation Office and the result of the test conducted by the Department of Health on the bus driver in the accident over the weekend.
Cuizon set the case hearing on July 9 at the LTFRB-Central Visayas office.
In a related development, the bus management has promised to shoulder all hospital expenses of the 37 passengers who were injured in last Sunday’s accident, according to Rosalinda Jao of the Cebu Provincial Health Office.
“I have talked to the manager of Ceres and they assured that they will shoulder everything. The Province has no problem so far, but in case they will need our help, we are here,” she said.
Governor Hilario Davide III had said the Capitol will provide assistance to the victims, if needed.
“The owner of the bus pledged to shoulder all the expenses so if there is anything needed, we are also extending assistance in whatever we can do,” he said.
As of Monday morning, 24 victims had been discharged.
Jao thanked the local government units of Danao, Compostela and Liloan for providing transportation so the patients could get home.
She said those who remain in hospital include 11-year-old Marc John Invento, whose condition was said to be critical last Sunday night.
“He is in morbid situation right now, but not critical. He is already responsive, he just needs to be guarded,” she said.
Invento and four others are confined at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).
VSMMC information officer Nonoy Mongaya said Invento and Marites Burgas, 41, were admitted to the trauma center after sustaining multiple physical injuries.
Maria Isabel Arnado, 22; Ruben Monleon, 23; and Florencia Condino, 59, are under observation, he said.
Mongaya said they couldn’t find 16-year-old Justin Kent Abad. “It’s either niuli nga wala mananghid. Wala mi disposition niya na (He must have left without informing us),” he said.
Chief Inspector Alvin Balio, Carmen Police Station head, said none of the victims have expressed willingness to file a complaint against Roberto Lato, the bus driver.
The legal counsel of Vallacar Transit told police they have already paid more than P100,000 for the hospital expenses of the victims, he said.
Balio said they’ll be forced to release Lato from custody if no complaint has been filed against him after 18 hours of the reglementary period.
Apart from the VSMMC, the other injured passengers were taken to the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, Cebu Provincial Hospital-Danao City and the Perpetual Succour Hospital.
The accident in Carmen wasn’t the only one that involved a Ceres bus last Sunday.
PO2 Ernesto Pablo of the Borbon Police Station said a bus driven by Antonio Castillote accidentally sideswiped a motorcycle past 7 p.m. when it reached Barangay Clavera.
Both vehicles were heading north when the bus overtook the motorcycle driven by Benjie Ople, 32.
It knocked down the motorcycle, which also carried Benjie’s wife Marichris, their son Jessie and their nephew Jericho, when the bus was forced to return to its lane because of incoming traffic.
“Tungod kay ngitngit kaayo, wala kabalo ang driver nga nakaigo diay siya sa likod (The driver didn’t realize he had hit someone because it was really dark),” Pablo told Sun.Star Cebu.
Residents in the area rushed the four victims to the Juan B. Dosado Memorial Hospital in Sogod.
Pablo said Jessie, who suffered head injuries, was transferred to an undisclosed hospital in Cebu City.
Pablo said they were able to locate the bus in Hagnaya, San Remigio.
The family has agreed to settle after the bus management promised to shoulder Jessie’s hospital expenses. (EOB/DSM/Rosedelyn S. Catalan, USJ-R Mass Comm intern)