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MANILA, Philippines – Road repairs, newly-opened routes, and geographic features – these are just some of the unique road conditions in Cagayan Valley that can prove risky or dangerous for motorists passing through.
During Rappler’s #SaferRoadsPH forum on Wednesday, June 7, local officials in Cagayan Valley discussed the state of road safety in the region, and what can be done to improve the situation.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Central Luzon has the highest number of crash-related deaths in 2014, but if numbers are divided by population, Cagayan Valley comes out as the most crash-prone. (READ: Deadly highways: What makes Cagayan Valley roads crash-prone?)
Nasrudin Talipasan, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Region II director, cited the following reasons that could affect road safety: constant repair of certain roads, newly-opened routes, increase of roads and alternative routes, and Cagayan’s topography, among others.
“Cagayan is in the forefront of economic growth,” Talipasan said. As a result of this, he added, many new roads are being built or repaired to keep up with the demands of a growing area, along with the increase in alternative routes.
Aside from the development of many roads in Cagayan, Talipasan said people are also buying more private vehicles, resulting in heavier traffic jams and busier roads.
He added that Cagayan’s topography is another reason for its high rate of road crashes, given that it is a mountainous area.
The region is nestled between the Cordilleras and the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.
Other regions, Talipasan said, may be less prone to road crashes because the topography is generally flat and located in the lowlands.
Recent data showed that in 2016, there were 1,471 road crashes in Cagayan province.
In those road crashes, 127 people were killed and 770 people suffered from injuries. Almost half of the victims were 20 to 39 years old.
According to the data, 790 of these crashes were a result of reckless driving.
Cagayan roads have had a number of deadly road crashes, such as the April 2017 bus crash that killed more than 30 people. The bus fell into a ravine while on the mountainous route from Cagayan Valley to Abra.
In the same month, a bus also collided with a truck in Nueva Vizcaya, a province in Cagayan Valley. The crash resulted in a 9-hour traffic jam.
Given the region’s history of road crashes, Talipasan stressed that extra precautions must be taken when navigating the mountainous, uphill Cagayan roads. – Ishbelle Bongato / Rappler.com
Ishbelle Bongato is a Rappler intern.