BACOLOD CITY—The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Thursday suspended the operation of 10 Ceres buses of Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI) that was covered by a franchise to ply in EB Magalona following the accident on Tuesday.
Three persons, two of them minors, were killed and 10 were injured when a Ceres bus heading north swerved out of control on the highway in Barangay Damgo, EB Magalona, on Tuesday.
LTFRB regional director Romulo Bernardes said the 30-day suspension on the 10 buses was preventive only and without prejudice to Vallacar’s filing a motion to lift this order.
Bernardes said a hearing would be held at the LTFRB office in Iloilo on Monday where VTI would be given the opportunity to show cause why it should not be penalized.
Based on the initial report, a vehicle cut the path of the Ceres bus, causing it to swerve and resulted in the accident, he said.
However, the matter was still subject to further investigation, Bernardes said.
Bus driver Jess Amable Martinez, 44, allegedly tried to overtake a vehicle in front of him but hesitated because of an approaching truck on the opposite lane of a curving road.
As Martinez returned to his lane, he hit the brakes to avoid hitting the vehicle in front, causing the bus to swerve to the right and hit the houses beside the highway where a group of people playing bingo was gathered, a police report said on Tuesday.
Martinez, however, claimed he swerved his vehicle to avoid another vehicle coming from the shoulder of the road that suddenly made a U-turn, said Insp. Leonardo Cubing, EB Magalona deputy police chief.
The bus slammed into two houses, hitting 13 people as it fell into a canal.
Killed were Florida Pelagio, 38, and her son, Gaspar Pelagio, 6, and Jillianne Lamis, 1.
In its press release, VTI expressed its “deepest sympathy” to the victims of the tragic accident.
The company also assured the riding public of the reliability of its buses, which continually undergo periodic checkup of their normal wear and tear, brakes, tires, steering wheels and other critical parts every three days.