CHEd suspends school tours after bus crash | Inquirer News

CHEd suspends school tours after bus crash

/ 12:55 AM February 22, 2017

GRIEF-STRICKEN Relatives of Lovely Siringan, one of the students killed in Monday’s bus crash in Tanay, Rizal, grieve outside Majar Funeral Homes in Novaliches, Quezon City. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

GRIEF-STRICKEN Relatives of Lovely Siringan, one of the students killed in Monday’s bus crash in Tanay, Rizal, grieve outside Majar Funeral Homes in Novaliches, Quezon City. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Tuesday suspended excursions and educational tours a day after a wayward tourist bus slammed into an electric post, killing at least 15 people, mostly college students on a camping trip.

The 15th fatality, identified as Jasmine Samauna, succumbed at Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center late on Monday to injuries sustained in Monday’s crash in Tanay, Rizal province.


In all, 13 students, a staff member of Bestlink College of the Philippines and the driver died in the early morning accident.


Around 50 students were injured in the accident and four remain in critical condition at the medical center.

Barlito Bari Jr. of the Tanay disaster response office said the bus carried 62 people, although the manifest listed 58.

“The Tanay tragedy is a reminder that we must be very strict in regulating the use of public transportation for school-sponsored trips,” CHEd Commissioner Prospero de Vera III said in a statement.

Safety of students

“While it is true that field trips are essential to give students the opportunity to see and explore new things, enhance their learning experience in a natural setting, and provide for interest-driven and hands-on training, the safety of the students on field trips must be ensured at all times by school authorities,” De Vera said.

In a meeting on Tuesday, the CHEd announced that it was imposing the moratorium on field trips and educational tours in all colleges and universities in the meantime as it conducts an investigation into Monday’s accident and a review of policies on such trips.

Under CHEd Memorandum No. 17, s. 2012, schools are required to report to its regional office on the nature of the educational tour or field trip, including the purpose, schedule, destinations and cost at least a month before the opening of classes for every academic year.


The memo also stipulates that the destination of educational tours or field trips, as much as practicable, should be near the concerned school to minimize cost.

Teacher, driver

A list of fatalities provided by the Tanay municipal government included Bestlink staff member Dave Mark Baday. Also among the dead was the bus driver, Julian Lacorda Jr., an employee of the Panda Coach Tours and Transport Inc. based in Valenzuela City.

The rest of the fatalities, all students, were identified as Jeid Cabino, Elmer Cabrera, Jonahfay Cerezo, John Michael Dagondon, Arneline Galauram, Emman Gel Garinto, Charlie Magdaong, Robert Kenneth Pepito, Hasmin Samauna, Princess Nina Sentonis, Jemmerson Mesicula, Gerry Bernardino and Lovely Siringan.

Carlos Inofre of the Tanay municipal government said it had taken a while to identify the fatalities, 10 of whom died instantly and the rest in different hospitals.

He said some of the fatalities could not be immediately identified because of head and face injuries.

Most of the victims, Inofre said, suffered fractures due to the strong impact when the bus hit an electric post in Barangay Sampaloc while en route to a resort in Tanay as part of the National Service Training Program.

Police said the driver lost control of the vehicle after its brakes failed while it was running along the two-lane downhill road.

Accident-prone area

“They were actually already past the steepest point of the road, which was the actual accident-prone area, when the accident happened,” Inofre said.

He said there was a road widening project along that portion of the road. Road warning signs were also installed along the route.

Amid criticisms, Bestlink College maintained that it had not been remiss.

Zanny Samsona of Bestlink said the school was seeking the immediate release of financial assistance by its insurance provider.

Board member Aileen Lizada of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said that Panda Coach Tours and Transport Inc., the owner of the bus, had received from its insurance provider a check of P750,000.

Each of the 15 victims’ family would receive as early as today an initial P50,000, she said.

Insurance coverage

Lizada said that the remaining P150,000 accident insurance coverage would be given to the families, pending their submission of documentary requirements.

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Malacañang expressed condolences to the families of the victims. The labor department and the Senate announced plans to investigate the incident. —WITH REPORTS FROM JOCELYN R. UY, MARICAR CINCO, JOVIC YEE, JODEE AGONCILLO, JULIE M. AURELIO, MARLON RAMOS AND TARRA QUISMUNDO

TAGS: Tanay

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