TABUK, Kalinga — The provincial government of Kalinga and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured aid to the families of the victims of a road crash in Balbalan town on Tuesday afternoon.
Governor Jocel Baac told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that they have started extending assistance to the victims’ families as early as Tuesday evening.
Food and rice needed in the first night of the wake were distributed to the families by the provincial government.
Caskets were also given for those who died in the road crash.
He added that there is an ongoing assessment of the condition of the injured victims to determine and assess their needs.
Baac said the financial assistance will be given as soon as the assessment is completed.
In a phone interview Wednesday, DSWD-Cordillera Director Janet Armas said they are in touch with the provincial office to assess and identify the nearest kin of those who died and the injured so that the government’s financial assistance can be properly handed.
She added that aside from the DSWD resources, the local government is also extending assistance to the victims.
In a separate interview, Senior Supt. Alfredo Dangani, Kalinga Police Provincial Director, said they are still waiting for Francisco Gumaad Jr., the driver of the jeepney, to recover and get his side of the story.
They also hope to interview the injured.
A total of 14 persons died while 24 others were injured when a passenger jeepney (WRR-535) plunged into an 80-meter deep ravine in Dao-angan, Balbalan, Kalinga at about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Killed were Victorino Banglagan, Soledad Dammay, Eliza Amoga, Rosario Badong, Isabel Bagni, Agida Palangdao, Lolita Latawan, William Gamongan, Leota Maday, Angelina Benito, Benjamin Badong, Teresa Dulansi, Annie Baluga, and Martin Canao.
Initial reports said nine of the victims died on the spot, three were pronounced dead upon reaching the hospital while two others died while undergoing treatment.
The injured were Arnel Banglagan, Laika Barbosa, Manuel Banguingan, Jennifer Esteban, Pedro Maday, Lolita Gullitis, Joselyn Gannisi, Socorro Naganag, Necita Daggay, Bartolome Balcanao, Patricio Magay, Mariano Palicas, Leonarda Dumaguing, Anna Bagwingan, Imelda Cuzon, Caridad Palicas, Irene Dammay, Mercedez Kingbao, Conchita Canao, Sonia Barbosa, Concordia Manadao, Fransisco Gumaad Jr., Edmund Duguit, and Nanette Gamongan.
They were rushed to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital and the Western Kalinga District Hospital for treatment.
The victims, all senior citizens, were on their way back to their homes from the Balbalan municipal hall after claiming the pay-out of their third-quarter social pension of PHP1,500 from the DSWD.
“We are still pursuing the investigation. We hope to gather information from the driver and the victims to determine what transpired,” Dangani said. Jesse Maguiya/PNA-northboundasia.com