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NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Vallacar Transit Incorporated’s (VTI) media and relations officer, Jade Marquez, on Saturday, February 10, refuted speculation that the road mishap in Sitio Bandihan, Barangay Salong, Kabankalan City, on February 9 was due to passenger overloading.
Marquez said the accident happened at around 9:40 am, after the bus pulled over in the middle of an uphill road so that a passenger could disembark the vehicle. A few minutes later, the driver lost control and the bus suddenly fell on its side, injuring the 35 passengers.
Marquez pointed out that the bus has a seating capacity of 39, and that only 35 passengers were aboard when the accident happened, according to bus tickets issued to the passengers.
The bus route was heading to the mountain village of Bantayan in Kabankalan from Bacolod City, the capital of Negros Occidental.
Marquez said the passengers only sustained minor injuries. They were brought to the nearest hospital in the southern Negros city following the accident.
Affected injured passengers had already been released from the hospital, and there were no reports of serious injuries, Marquez added.
She reassured the riding public that VTI bus units undergo routine inspections by their drivers before leaving their parking areas.
News of the road mishap swiftly flooded the social media posts of various local media outfits in the province, expressing concern for the safety of the riding public.
The concern stemmed from cases of vehicular and road accidents, including a tragic bus accident in Hamtic town in Antique province on December 5, 2023, when a Ceres bus plunged into a ravine, killing nearly twenty people. Officials said the vehicle’s brake system allegedly malfunctioned, causing the bus to fall into the ravine.
Marquez, however, said the Kabankalan incident was an isolated case, and were making sure safety remained the company’s priority.
Marquez added the driver will be placed under investigation by the company due to the possibility of human error.
VTI operates one of Asia’s largest bus fleets, with nearly 5,000 units owned by the Yanson Group. – Rappler.com