MANILA: A passenger bus collided head-on with an oil tanker while avoiding a motorcycle in Nueva Ecija province in Central Luzon, killing nine people and injuring 11 others, police reported on Wednesday.
Chief Inspector Karen Clark, the Philippine National Police regional spokesman, said the tragedy occurred before dawn on Wednesday along the national highway in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.
Based on initial investigation, Clark said the driver of the bus with 40 passengers on board and bound for Metro Manila was trying to avoid hitting a motorcycle bearing the driver and a woman passenger by swerving into the opposite direction.
But in doing so, Clark said the bus still sideswiped the motorcycle and then collided head-on with the oil tanker coming from the opposite direction and speeding toward Isabela province in the Northern Luzon highlands. The drivers of the three vehicles were killed along with six other bus passengers and injured 11 others, according to Clark. Clark added the timely arrival of Munoz City firemen prevented a bigger tragedy when they hosed down the oil that spilled into the highway from the tanker with chemicals and water, thus preventing the cargo from breaking into flames.
Experts have blamed badly-trained and reckless drivers, poorly-maintained vehicles and roads as well as lack of signages and safety devices such as steel and cement railings particularly along sharp curves in the highways for the increasing number of deaths and injuries due to vehicular accidents in the Philippines annually.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) admitted that the country has one of the worst roads in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) based on the 2012 Global Competitiveness Report of the Global Economic Forum.
But DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson assured the upgrading of the quality and safety of national roads was one of the agency’s priorities under the administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Singson explained the national road network is the most important government infrastructure asset to help hasten economic progress as well as attract more foreign investments and tourists.