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Kin of bus crash victims still await help from Florida Transport

/ 10:47 PM February 10, 2014

This unit of the GV Florida Transport Inc fell off a ravine on the morning of Feb. 7, 2014, landing at a small farm in Barangay (village)Talubin, Bontoc town in Mt. Province. The bus came from Manila. The accident killed 14 people, including 2 foreigners and comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez whose remains were driven back to Manila on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. RICHARD BALONGLONG/Inquirer Northern Luzon

MANILA, Philippines – The G.V. Florida Transport which owned the bus that plunged into a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province last week has not yet tried to reach out to the families of the dead victims, or at least to one of those killed.

“Whatever compensation you give them now, it will not compensate for the grief….Give justice to the families. They were innocent…If one dies many are affected,” said Fely Sicam, aunt of artist David Sicam, an artist who was killed from the tragic accident.

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She said the bus company has not yet tried to talk to them.

The accident prompted the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board to impose a 30-day suspension on G.V. Florida Transport Inc. and Mt. Province Cable Tours.

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Based on a report, the bus that crashed had a G.V. Florida body marking but its plate number was assigned to another bus company, the Mt. Province Cable Tours.

David Sicam was one of the 14 people who were killed in the accident. The 35-year-old artist and musician was with his friends and his family to celebrate his son’s birthday in Sagada. In his group of 15, there were four of them that were killed, including comedian Arvin Jimenez, known to the public as “Tado.”

His wife, Abigail, and their two kids survived the accident. But his wife remains in the hospital and has to undergo two more operations after undergoing a surgery in the spine, said Fely Sicam, David’s aunt.

‘Family man’

Fely described to reporters that his nephew was a “family man” and “a loving person.”

“He never forgets his relatives. You’ll never see him frowning or with a sad face. He’s always smiling,” she said.

Fely said that based on the accounts of David’s youngest son Amian, he was hugged by his father as the bus plunged into the deep ravine. Amian sustained minor bruises while his elder son, Agong, suffered minor bone injuries.

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‘Military tribute’

But to the military, David is remembered as one of the lead artists of Camp Aguinaldo’s famous painted walls that is vying for a Guinness record as the world’s longest mural.

His remains lie in state at the Multi-Purpose Hall of the Civil Relations Service at Camp Aguinaldo as the military’s tribute to him. His body arrived at the camp on Sunday night.

“We wanted to honor David who is one of those who created the images of peace that can be found on the walls of the AFP headquarters. This is our simple way of recognizing the lasting contributions that he had rendered to our organization through our peace advocacies,” said 7th Civil Relations Group Commander  Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc.

The four-kilometer wall of Camp Aguinaldo was a collaboration of thousands of artists and volunteers. David Sicam was one of the 30 lead artists.

On Thursday, a candle-lighting ceremony by the “peace mural family” will be held at Camp Aguinaldo as a tribute to the late artist.

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