General Santos City

Father’s Day highway crash kills 6, badly hurts 4 kids in General Santos

Rommel Rebollido

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Father’s Day highway crash kills 6, badly hurts 4 kids in General Santos

RISKY. A tricycle and a truck move toward opposite directions on a highway in General Santos City. The government prohibits tricycles on highways.

Rommel Rebollido/Rappler

The accident occurs when a tricycle the victims are riding collides with a truck on a highway. Traffic laws prohibit tricycles from highways.

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Six people died, including three children, while four other minors were seriously hurt in a vehicular collision after they celebrated Father’s Day at a beach in General Santos City on Sunday, June 16.

The tragedy happened when a tricycle the victims were riding collided with a truck on a highway. Traffic laws prohibit tricycles from traveling along highways.

Five of the fatalities, including one-year-old Lathicia Enan and 11-year-old Jeremy Culanan, died on impact. A six-year-old girl, Zowie Cañedo, died on the way to a hospital.

General Santos police traffic head Major Oliver Pauya identified the other fatalities as 32-year-old Jay Cañedo, who was the driver of the tricycle, and Rosilene Pajaro and Marivic Enan, both 28 years old.

Police said the tragedy struck when the tricycle, crammed with minors returning home from a beach outing to celebrate Father’s Day, collided with the truck coming from the opposite direction along a highway in Cabu, Barangay Tambler.

In serious condition were four other children, with ages ranging from seven to 13 years old. They were identified as Raven Cañedo, Kristen Joy Enan, Chriespiar Cañedo, and Mary Rose Enan. 

The survivors are under close observation at a hospital after they suffered head and other injuries.

Police said the driver of the truck was placed under police custody pending the results of a full investigation.

Investigators also suspected that the tricycle driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has a standing order to all local governments and the police to ensure that tricycles stay clear of highways due to the danger they pose to motorists and passengers.

Residents criticized local authorities for being unable to strictly enforce the rules on tricycles. 

Joseph Lim, who works as a family driver, complained that tricycle drivers in General Santos frequently traverse highways and major roads, showing a wanton disregard for the law, even in the presence of traffic enforcers.

On Saturday, June 15, another road crash saw a man and his child injured when their tricycle collided with a sports utility vehicle along the highway in Labangal, General Santos.

Enforcement challenges

The recent vehicle crashes in General Santos showed the challenges faced by the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) in Soccsksargen, which lacks a deputization order from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) needed to legally apprehend traffic violators.

HPG in the Soccsksargen region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Kidapawan, and Tacurong.

“None of them can apprehend violators; they are not authorized by law,” said Melharrieh Tomawis, the director of the LTO in Soccsksargen.

Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines, states that only law enforcement units and police officers duly deputized by the head of the LTO have the power to apprehend and confiscate driver’s licenses during violations.

The LTO official said the agency has not yet renewed the deputization order of the HPG in Soccsksargen, which expired and was due for renewal in December 2023.

For now, HPG’s only remaining function is to direct traffic and go after car thieves, Tomawis said. 

Tomawis said the HPG still has to resolve some issues before their deputization order can be renewed. He did not elaborate. – Rappler.com

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