Marinduque college execs ready to face raps over fatal Benguet road crashBy Gerald Gene Querubin
Inquirer Southern Luzon
SANTA CRUZ, Marinduque, Philippines—Marinduque State College officials are ready to face investigation or any charges that may be brought against them after three students and two teachers of the academic institution died and 28 others were injured in a vehicular collision in Tuba, Benguet Thursday night.
In a phone interview, Dr. Leodegario Jalos Jr., vice president for academic affairs of MSC, said they were ready to face inquiries or charges against them because the field trip was duly approved by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
“We were able to comply with the requirements of CHEd relating to the conduct of the educational tour as proven by the permit given to us by
Ched,” he said.
On the other hand, Jalos said, the MSC administration was contemplating on filing charges against St. Barachiel Travel and Tours Agency, the tour operator that hired the wayward bus.
“The provincial legal officer is currently gathering evidence that will establish the criminal and civil liabilities of the tour operator,” said Jalos.
Confirmed dead in the accident were tourism students Diane Laurio, Marivin Palatino and Princess Pastorfide and teachers Jenny Liza Lantoria and Mariel Mingi. Leopoldo Nana, a reliever-driver, and Carlo Pintor, a tour guide, were also among the dead.
The 28 injured students are still confined at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. One of them, Joanna Pizarra, remained in critical condition.
Jalos said 10 of the students might be discharged by Saturday or Sunday.
“Vehicles are on standby to bring the students and their parents back to Marinduque,” he said.
Jalos said the bodies of the five fatalities would be brought back to the province as soon as transportation concerns are settled.
He said they were arranging with the Philippine Military Academy and the Baguio City Mayor’s Office to provide the trucks to transport the coffins.
“As of now, we are concerned with the needs and safety of our students and their parents. We are still asking for your prayers for the students’ quick recovery,” said Jalos.
“May this incident serve as a lesson to all of us,” he added.
Jalos reiterated that the college would provide for all the needs of the victims.
MSC officials and parents of the students arrived at around 5:30 a.m. Saturday in Baguio City after a 15-hour trip from Marinduque.