The Philippine National Police has ordered the Highway Patrol Group and local police units to strictly enforce land transportation regulations against overloading and other violations.
PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas issued the order following Sunday’s accident involving a sports utility vehicle that plunged into a swollen irrigation canal in Tabuk City, Kalinga, killing 13 out of 15 passengers, including the driver.
Sinas underscored the need to “strictly observe load limits and maximum passenger capacity of motor vehicles, as well as the required physical distancing protocol inside public and private conveyances.”
“I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of these victims. May their souls be at peace and I hope that our Creator brings you the much-needed peace during these trying times,” Sinas said.
The Ford Everest was driven by Soy Lope Agtulao, an employee of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology assigned in Bontoc, Mt. Province and a resident of Tadian town.
Initial investigation showed the group was on their way home from a trip to Bulo Lake, a known tourist destination in Tabuk, when the accident happened.
Upon reaching a curved portion of the road, the SUV slipped and plunged into the irrigation canal.
Rescuers brought 11 victims to the Mija Kim Medical Center but were pronounced dead on arrival while two others were brought to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital but were also declared dead.
Only two passengers, Edith Andiso Perez, 51, and Cyril Lope Agtulao, 10, survived the mishap.