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BAGUIO, Philippines – A head-on collision between a passenger bus and a pickup truck along the Santa, Ilocos Sur section of the Manila North Road resulted in the death of a state college president on Saturday, June 3.
Gilbert Arce, 54, president of the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), was declared dead on arrival by his attending physician after his Ford Raptor collided with a Transport Pro bus in Barangay Mabilbila Norte around noon. Personnel from the Santa Rural Health Unit rushed Arce to the Northside Doctors Hospital, while the injured bus driver and passengers were brought to the Metro Vigan Cooperative Hospital, both in Bantay municipality.
A third vehicle, an aluminum van tailing the bus, evaded the collision but crashed into a house. The driver was unhurt, according to the police.
Arce, a resident of Barraca, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, was driving north while the two other vehicles were southbound. Based on the CCTV footage, the police said his vehicle suddenly encroached into the opposite lane, resulting in the accident.
He served as president of the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City from 2011 to 2019, and assumed the top position in ISPSC in July 2020.
Arce just came from Candon City for the student allowances distribution under the College Educational Assistance Program for the Ilocos Sur Second Congressional District before the collision.
In a Facebook post, Ilocos Sur 2nd District Representative Kristine Singson-Meehan and former governor and 1st district representative Deogracias Victor Savellano called Arce’s death a significant loss to the academe.
“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of one great man, whose dynamic leadership, dedication, and vision set the pace for the universityhood of ISPSC,” Meehan said.
The lawmaker added, “He was a man worthy of emulation, and his passing is a great loss to the academe and to the whole of Ilocos Sur.”
Arce is also the officer-in-charge of the North Luzon Philippines State College, which is under the process of merging with ISPSC toward the creation of the University of Ilocos Philippines. The Senate approved the bill for the conversion in April 2022.
“I am deeply saddened [by] the untimely death of my friend [President] Gilbert Arce of ISPSC. The academe lost in you a dedicated educator, whose vision is focused on the betterment of ISPSC towards attaining branches of advanced learning,” Savellano said.
“Thank you for working with me in our shared dream of making the College of Veterinary Medicine in San Juan a reality,” the former governor added. – Rappler.com