A bride-to-be was among 13 people killed after the dump truck they were riding crashed into a tree and rolled over near San Fernando.
The group had just come from a traditional pre-wedding ceremony called a pamamanhikan, in which a man and his family visit a woman’s home to formally request her hand in marriage.
The accident at 5.20pm yesterday (Saturday, June 7) left 25 other passengers injured.
Among those killed were two children aged four and five, as well as the bride-to-be, who has been named as Bea Locilo.
The truck carrying 53 passengers was going down a mountain road when it lost control, according Police Master Sergeant Victor Quinao.
“The truck lost control and rolled over, throwing off some of the passengers while others were crushed,” he said.
“It was a dump truck used to transport soil and sand and was owned by the local government. It appears it was borrowed for the event. The passengers put improvised benches while others were standing.”
San Fernando Mayor Fermin Mabulo said the local government would provide aid for the families of the dead and those injured.
“We will shoulder the burial and hospitalisation,” he said in a text message to Rappler.
Police are now investigating the possible liability of the driver.
‘Unacceptably high’ death toll
Yesterday’s tragedy was only the latest high-casualty accident to be seen on the roads of the Philippines.
In April last year, we reported that the Philippine delegation to the UN General Assembly admitted that the country was having a “hard time” cutting the “unacceptably high” death toll on its roads.
Speaking in New York, Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House transportation committee, said the country was struggling to meet the global target of cutting road crash fatalities by half in 2020.
He added that despite ongoing efforts to promote road safety, “the number of road traffic crashes globally remains unacceptably high”. In the case of the Philippines, he said, “we are also having a hard time meeting the target”.
“As of the end of 2016, road crashes kill an average of 31 people a day and is a major cause of death for our youth. This figure shows a 40 per cent increase in the number of deaths compared to 2006,” he said.
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