At least 20 people are dead and 25 injured in a traffic accident in the early hours of Christmas Day in Agoo, La Union.
Among the casualties are at least three children, including a five-month-old baby.
Chief Inspector Roy Villanueva, Agoo police chief, said the jeepney was speeding and was about to overtake another vehicle when it crashed into a northbound Partas Bus at about 3.30am Monday along the southbound lane of the Manila North Road in Barangay San Jose Sur.
“There are 20 fatalities now, and they’re all from the jeep,” he said.
He added that the jeepney passengers may have been relatives, who came from Barangay Pilar in Bauang town in La Union.
The jeepney was reportedly heading for the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag, in Manaoag town, and was rushing to hear the Christmas Mass.
The jeepney was privately owned, while the bus was owned by operating company Partas. The bus was on its way to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
Investigators remain at the scene and are interviewing survivors to ascertain exactly how the tragedy unfolded. The severity of the crash was such that the engine of the jeepney was completely yanked out of its housing.
Nineteen of the victims died on the spot, and a further casualty succumbed to their injuries at hospital.
On December 22 last year, Agoo was the scene of another tragedy when a Partas bus was in collision with a Dominion Bus, leaving two dead. The Dominion bus had already gone on the hard shoulder of the national highway to avoid the speeding Partas, but they still collided. The two dead and 18 injured were from the Dominion bus, while seven of the injured were inside Partas.