2 school execs die as bus falls off cliff

By Cecille Suerte Felipe

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The group was on the way to San Jose town when the bus figured in the accident at around 6:30 p.m. in Barangay Nicolas, Magsaysay town. File

MANILA, Philippines — Two officials of a university in Rizal province died while 26 others were injured when a bus carrying 44 student athletes and sports personnel fell into a ravine in Occidental Mindoro on Saturday night.

The fatalities were identified as Elmer Decillo, 61, and Jonathan Penada, 51, sports and campus directors, respectively, of the University of Rizal System (URS) in Binangonan.

The victims were rushed to the San Jose District Hospital, Westmin Hospital and Calapan District Hospital for treatment.

The group was on the way to San Jose town when the bus figured in the accident at around 6:30 p.m. in Barangay Nicolas, Magsaysay town.

The student athletes were supposed to compete this week in the Southern Tagalog Regional Association of State Universities and Colleges Olympics in the municipality of San Jose.

The bus (RNJ-324) was being operated by the Charm Travel and Tour Bus Co., according to Superintendent Imelda Tolentino, spokesperson for the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) police.

Probers said the driver lost control of the wheel as the bus was negotiating a steep road in Sitio Bunga.

Grounded

The accident prompted the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ground the other buses of Charm Travel and Tour Bus Co.

LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada yesterday said they would issue a suspension order for the company’s two other buses.

A check on the company’s franchise showed it was registered with the LTFRB-Central Luzon office.

“It appears that the bus was operating out of line. Since the franchise was issued by the LTFRB-Central Luzon, it should only be operating in Region 3. The road crash occurred in Region 4,” Lizada said. 

She assured the victims that their medical expenses would be shouldered by the Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency.

An investigation will be conducted on the incident, Lizada said. – With Romina Cabrera, Christian Imperio

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