10 dead, 4 injured in Gensan road crash

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 04 August) —  Ten persons died and four others were injured in a horrifying three-vehicle pileup here on Thursday afternoon, August 4.

The crash involved a cargo truck, a pickup truck and a utility van filled with passengers travelling home to this city from a team-building activity in the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte. 

The collision left a ghastly sight of mangled bodies, twisted metals and the injured strewn all over the national highway in Purok 4, Batomelong, this city.

General Santos City. Map courtesy of Google

Police identified the fatalities as cargo truck driver Cesar Andaya, Noel Podadera, driver of the commuter van and its passengers Lalaine Joy Labang, Mylene Donaldo, Carlo Advincula, Regie Pag-ong, Ryan Jay Niñez, Salvacion Masugbod, Alfredo N. Abatayo, and Rose Ann Macpal.

Injured were van passengers Shiela Bantaculo, Regina L. Gadia, Jerel U. Villaruz and Jeraldine U. Villaruz.

Elbert G. Hayag, the pickup truck driver, was initially identified as one of the injured but was later removed from the list.

The van passengers were employees of the Tuna Exporters Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Tempco) in Barangay Tambler here. They rented the van to ferry them home. 

Hayag told investigators that he was tailing the commuter van while negotiating a curve towards the city proper, when he saw the van swerving to the opposite direction and heading straight towards the incoming truck. 

Police Lieutenant Colonel Dominador Palgan Jr., chief of the General Santos Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU), said they will probe deeper into the incident. TEU records show that more than one incident of road crash happens daily in this city. 

Macario Gonzaga, director of the Land Transportation Office in Region 12 (Soccsksargen), said they will also conduct their own investigations, especially on the proliferation of unauthorized vehicles (colorum) conducting passengers.

Executive Master Sergeant  Alberto Rosas of the Highway Patrol Group said in their estimates, there are more than 1,000 colorum utility vans operating in the Soccsksargen region.

There is also a rising number of rent-a-car businesses without the necessary government permits. (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)