Bus firm suspended after fatal road crash

Davao bus terminal. MindaNews file photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 February) – A bus company has been ordered suspended for 30 days by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 11 after one of its buses figured in a collision Monday in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley that killed seven persons and injured 30 others.

The collision, which occurred along Km. 92, Barangay Magsaysay, Nabunturan involved a bus of Davao Metro Shuttle Corp. and a bus owned by Bachelor Express Bus company.

In her three-page order, LTFRB 11 OIC regional director Cattleya B. Acaylar said a preliminary investigation revealed that Davao Metro Shuttle’s bus unit was “at fault as not being roadworthy” after its front tire exploded, causing it to swerve to the opposite lane and crashed head-on with the other bus.

She said the agency found that the bus unit’s franchise only covered the Davao City-Tagum City route.

The respondent was also directed to “show cause in writing within 72 hours from receipt” of the order why its Certificate of Public Convenience should not be suspended, cancelled and/or revoked for violation of the terms and conditions of its franchise.

Acaylar also ordered the LTFRB 11’s Transport Inspectors, Enforcement Division of the Land Transportation Office, Traffic Management Group of the police, and other enforcement agencies to apprehend and impound any bus owned by the respondent found operating during the period of suspension.

The company owns 34 bus units.

Acaylar directed Davao Metro Shuttle to comply within 30 days with the inspection and determination of road worthiness of the authorized buses by bringing them to Motor Vehicle Inspection Service of the LTO together with the authorized representatives of the LTFRB; subject their drivers and conductors to road safety seminar and compulsory drug testing by Department of Health; submit the certificates of registration and latest LTO official receipts of the units including the names of drivers and conductors;

Submit video clippings of roadworthiness inspection, road safety seminar and drug testing; clearances of authorized drivers from National Bureau of Investigation, police, and barangays; system of hiring and supervision of the drivers and conductors; and proof of payment from its insurance company that the insurance benefits have been duly received by the victims/passengers.

Police Regional Office 11 director Chief Supt. Marcelo C. Morales has ordered an investigation into the road crash.

Initial police investigation showed that the Davao Metro Shuttle bus driven by Hamber Khen Despi was traveling from Tagum City to Veruela, Agusan del Sur when its tire exploded. It then encroached on the opposite lane and collided with the Bachelor Express bus driven by Cruz Daig.

Police said the Davao Metro Shuttle bus driver was among the seven fatalities. The Bachelor Express bus driver survived.

The six other dead victims were identified as Jerome Uyanguren, Francasio Cabellida, Elsa Salarda Acedilla, Janet Vicente, Teddy Nher Garcia, and Mary Grace Balbuena, who was pregnant.

The injured victims were identified as Jovelyn Ramada, Kent Jay Cuyos, Kristine Jewel Cuyos, Evelyn Blanco, Aristi Montalban, Dante Barinia, Marwin John Panlilio, Mary Twinkle Sombreo, Ruwel Sunga, Jesabel Hemino, Jesley Kevin Lavalle, Meer Epifanio Rivera, Kevin Lord Vicente, Alexander Campos, Gabriela Garganera, Jay Sulayaw, Roldan Diaz, Marnelli Calupas, Marlon Muñoz, Maria Torrenueva, Analiza Diaz, Kelvin Jane Jurado, Bladivirom Garganera, Jollybee Espulgar, Robin Morales, Merly Caintic, Cherry Caintic, Chloe Dalagan Caintic, and Lorelyn Palco.

“We cannot predict accident but we can also avoid it. If it’s human error, or if there are lapses from the management due to poor maintenance of the vehicle, we will let the management answer and be accountable for that,” Morales said.

Morales told bus operators to ensure their vehicles are in good condition. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)