Bacolod mayor orders probe on city bus mishap

People flock to the area where a bus fell on its side, killing a teacher and injuring 37 others in Barangay Igmaya-an, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Friday. (Photo courtesy of Hakuna Matata Facebook)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez has ordered an investigation into a road accident involving a city government bus that killed a teacher and injured 37 others in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, last Friday.

“We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragic accident to ensure that such incidents do not happen again in the future,” Benitez said in a statement released on Saturday through his spokesperson, lawyer Caesar Distrito.

Police Captain Ignacio Javier, deputy chief of Don Salvador Municipal Police Station, identified the fatality as Arlyn Verde, 42, of Murcia town.

Javier said the bus was carrying 39 passengers, including 32 teachers, their immediate families, the bus driver, and a helper/conductor.

The bus fell on its side due to an alleged brake failure, according to the 59-year-old bus driver, while they were descending and approaching a curve in the road.

The teachers from Paglaum Village Elementary School were returning from a team-building event in Sipaway Island, San Carlos City, when the accident occurred around 5:40 p.m. in Barangay Igmaya-an.

Javier stated that Verde was declared dead in a hospital due to brain injuries and respiratory arrest, likely from the impact of hitting her head.

The helper and another teacher are still recuperating in a hospital, while the bus driver, who was unharmed, is under police custody pending further investigation.

Javier noted that the location is considered accident-prone, and barriers have been installed along the roadside.

Benitez expressed deep sorrow over the incident: “It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we announce a tragic vehicular accident involving a bus owned by the city in Don Salvador Benedicto, which resulted in the unfortunate death of one teacher.” He conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family.

The city has provided hospital assistance under the Bacolod City Comprehensive Health Program (BAcCHP) to all victims, covering their medicines, laboratory tests, x-rays, and other needs.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are injured, and we are committed to providing them with the necessary support and assistance during this difficult time,” Benitez said.

The Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) will assess the needs of the victims and facilitate the immediate release of assistance.

Benitez also stated that they are coordinating with local hospitals to ensure the injured receive the best medical care available.

Meanwhile, Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Laurence Marxlen Dela Cruz expressed his deep sadness over the accident.

“Our prayers are with everyone involved, and our deepest condolences to the family of the individual who died in the accident,” he said.

Dela Cruz commended the Don Salvador Benedicto rescue team, police, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and other rescue teams from various local government units (LGUs) and volunteers for their swift response.

“We express hope that the people who survived the accident will be able to immediately recover from their injuries and trauma,” he said.