TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The provincial government here is grieving over the loss of 13 lives in a vehicular accident on Sunday night.
In a statement posted on its official social media page, the provincial government said “the Kalinga officialdom grieves and asks the community for a minute of silence and prayer for the bereaved families and souls of those who passed away due to a tragic vehicular accident that happened.”
Governor Ferdinand Tubban has instructed the Provincial Social Work and Development Office to extend all possible assistance to the bereaved families.
The local government also reminded the community of the strict observance of surgical lockdowns that were imposed on identified areas and the prohibition of non-essential activities.
“Stay home, stay safe,” the post read.
Based on the report of Col. Davy Limmong, Director of the Kalinga Provincial Police, it was around 6:15 p.m. Sunday when the black sports utility vehicle driven by Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s Soy Lope Agtulao with 14 passengers, including eight children, fell into an irrigation canal at Barangay Bulo here.
Agtulao was assigned at the provincial jail in Bontoc District Jail in Mountain Province.
All 13 died from drowning despite the efforts of rescuers to revive them.
They were declared dead on arrival at the Mejia Kim Medical Center in Agbannawag and the Kalinga Provincial Hospital in Bulanao.
Residents who helped pluck the victims from the submerged vehicle told authorities some of the victims were still alive but nobody had cardiopulmonary resuscitation knowledge.
Aside from Agtulao, 36, the other fatalities were Cydwin Lope, 6; Cyan Lope, 4; her brother Sony Lope, 22; and her father, Alfredo Lope, 59.
The others who perished were Judilyn Talawec Dumayom, 31, and her children Seadarn, 5 and Jeslyn, 4; Remedios Longey Basilio, 56; Marlo Gel Perena, 6, the niece of the adult survivor; and Jessibell Paycao, 27, and her children Cedric, 4, and Scarlet, 3.
Edith Perez was able to get out of the vehicle along the jail officer’s 10-year-old child, Cyril. Both survived.
Lt. Col. Radino Belly, chief of police of Tabuk City Police Station, said that based on Perez’s account, the group decided to go to Bulo Lake to take photos before the jail officer brings home her father to Barangay Tadian.
Agtulao drove slowly, according to Perez, knowing that they were overloaded.
“Perez said Soy (Agtulao) suddenly lost control of the vehicle and maneuvered the towards the irrigation canal,” Belly said.
Another brother of Agtulao was on a motorcycle and trailing the ill-fated vehicle. However, he did not witness the accident.
Perez is still in shock and will be subjected to debriefing by a social worker, according to Belly. Dionisio Dennis, Jr. /PNA – northboundasia.com