OCD: 62, not 56 aboard ill-fated bus in Tanay mishap; 1 missing student turns out alive

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City -– The Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 4A (Calabarzon) here confirmed on Thursday that there were 61 passengers, not 56 as earlier reported aboard the ill-fated Harana bus where 13 students, one teacher guide and the bus driver perished during Monday’s accident near the camp site in Barangay Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal.

OCD Regional Director and RDRRMC Chair Olivia M. Luces reported that the 61 included three other students and the teacher-guide Mark Dave Baday who were not listed in the original bus passenger manifest.

As bodies were identified by school authorities, some parents and the team of emergency responders and rescue units and through site technical investigation and autopsy examination by the Rizal Crime Laboratory Office in Taytay, Rizal, one who was originally listed in the bus passenger was missing.

According to Luces, the earlier reported missing student from the original manifest turned out alive and surfaced as Ralf Anthony Anas who was later traced to have transferred to another bus even before the trip.

She also reported that Tanay Mayor Rex Manuel Tanjuatco has convened an interagency emergency conference with OCD, DILG, bus company, Bestlink College representative, Tanay police and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) that verified the list of 62 passengers – students, teaching staff including the driver on aboard the Harana tourist bus.

According to Luces, Bestlink College committed to shoulder all hospital/medical expenses, transfer of remains and the funeral expenses of all victims in the said accident and conferees agreed that the remains of the fatalities be transferred to Metro Manila by Tuesday.

The OCD-RDRRMC in coordination with the Tanay Mayor and DRMMO and DILG have confirmed that all 15 fatalities were verified with 10 who died on the spot; three were declared dead on arrival at the Rizal Provincial Hospital in Morong; one expired at the Camp Capinpin Army Hospital and one died while undergoing medical treatment at the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Hospital.

As of Wednesday, around 28 students of the 47 injured victims had been discharged while 19 patients are still confined at three hospitals: 16 at Amang Rodriguez Memorial Hospital; two at the National Orthopedic Hospital and one at the Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City.

Meanwhile, Bestlink College through its legal counsel lawyer Lourdes Pagayatan said they should not take all the blame for what happened as this was purely an accident.

Pagayatan also denied that there was negligence on the part of the school management, which is also looking into the possibility of filing complaints against the Harana Tours company.

The OCD Calabarzon director also said the Tanay MDRRMO continues to monitor the condition of patients admitted and may be transferred to the hospitals in Metro Manila as necessary in coordination with civil defense office and health authorities.

The Tanay municipal social welfare development office and the region’s social workers have been extending psycho-social processing, stress debriefing and conducted the initial assessment for assistance to be provided to the victims.

She also reported that the Calabarzon RDRRMC Operations Center has facilitated the request for the provision of metal braces for victim Danica Rose Ledesma’s arm injury to the NDRRMC and health department.

OCD4A has been coordinating with the Department of Health (DOH) central office, National Capital Region (NCR) and DOH-Calabarzon and the Tanay MDRRMO and concerned agencies for continuous monitoring and assistance. Saul E. Pa-a/PNA-northboundasia.com