SMASHUP: 7 DIE LTFRB suspends operation of Metro Shuttle bus firm

By Armando B. Fenequito Jr. and Ralph Lawrence Llemit

Photo from Divine Grace Ampo

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday issued a 30-day preventive suspension to all 34-bus units of Davao Metro Shuttle, after one of  its buses collided headon with a Bachelor Express unit, killing seven persons (including the Metro Shuttle driver and two pregnant women) on Monday afternoon.

LTFRB also ordered Metro Shuttle to comply with the requirements, prescribed in the order, within 30 days, including the surrendering of its bus plates today.

Police Regional Office 11 (PRO11) director Sr. Supt. Marcelo C Morales ordered the probing of the smashup that transpired at Km. 92, Barangay Magsaysay in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, involving a Metro Shuttle Bus with plate no. LXA 731 and Bachelor Express Bus with a no. 1301-104299.

Morales also expressed his sympathies for the casualties of the accident.

“I have ordered Compostela Valley Police Provincial Office (CVPPO) Provincial Director Supt Arnold Palomo, to conduct an indepth investigation into the incident and provide a detailed report of the cause of the accident,” Morales said.

“We cannot predict accident but we can also avoid it. If its human error, or if there are lapses from the management due to poor maintenance  of the vehicle, we will let the management answer and accountable for that,” he added.

He advised all bus operators to ensure the road-worthiness of their vehicles at all times.

The accident also caused injuries to other 30 passengers.

Initial Investigation revealed that at around 1:30 PM of February 4, 2019, while Metro Shuttle Bus, driven by Hamber Khen Despi was traversing coming from Tagum City going to Veruela, Agusan del Sur, while Bachelor Bus, driven by Cruz Daig was traversing coming from New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province going to Tagum City.

Upon reaching the aforesaid place of incident, Metro Shuttle right front wheel exploded and encroached to the lane of the Bachelor Express bus, resulting to its collision.

Both buses sustained bug damage due to the impact of the smashup.

As of 6:00AM of February 5, the dead passengers were identified as Jerome Uyanguren, 40; Francasio Cabellida, 65; Elsa Salarda Acedilla, 58; Hamber Khen Despi (Metro Shuttle driver), 36; Janet Vicente (pregnant), 35; Teddy Nher Garcia, 35; and Mary Grace Balbuena (pregnant), 26.

The injured passengers, admitted at the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital in Montevista, were identified as Jovelyn Ramada, 40; Kent Jay Cuyos, 10; Kristine Jewel Cuyos, 8; Evelyn Blanco, 40; Aristi Montalban, 39; Dante Barinia, 46; Marwin John Panlilio, 25; Mary Twinkle Sombreo, 24; Ruwel Sunga, 40; Jesabel Hemino, 24; Jesley Kevin Lavalle, 28; Meer Epifanio Rivera, 48, with less serious injury; Kevin Lord Vicente, 7; Alexander Campos, 39; Gabriela Garganera, 10; Jay Sulayaw, 22; Roldan Diaz, 8; Marnelli Calupas, 28; Marlon Muñoz, 36; Cruz Daig (Bachelor Express driver), 39; Maria Torrenueva, 45; Analiza Diaz, 44; Kelvin Jane Jurado (age unknown) was discharged; Bladivirom Garganera, 9; Jollybee Espulgar, 25; Robin Morales, 51; Merly Caintic, 39, discharged; Cherry Caintic, 18, discharged; Chloe Dalagan Caintic, 6 months, discharged; and Lorelyn Palco, 29, discharged. (with reports from PIA-11)