Saturday Feb, 22 2020 08:30:39 AM

(UPDATE) 9 die in North Cotabato highway mishap

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Malu C. Manar and DXND Radyo Bida
The ill-fated Toyota D4D passenger van that hit a tree in Matalam, North Cotabato Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Teresita Ceballos)

KIDAPAWAN CITY - Nine persons were killed while four others were hurt when a Toyota Hi-Ace passenger van from Davao City hit a roadside tree in Matalam, North Cotabato early Saturday morning, police said.Chief Inspector Elias Colonia, Matalam town police chief, told DXND Radyo Bida Kidapawan, the incident happened at 2:50 a.m. in Barangay West Patadon, along portions of the Cotabato-Davao highway. The van was speeding when it hit a tree at a roadside, probably the driver fell asleep, Colonia said in a separate interview.It was considered the worst highway mishap in North Cotabato in recent years.Four others were critically injured. It has 12 passengers.The van with license plate LHM-995left Davao City at past 12 midnight heading for Cotabato City.Four of the
fatalities were identified as Nor Asan Canda, 28 of Plang village, Kabacan,
North Cotabato, Lyle Rudolf Echevarria Octaviano, 28, government employee of
Aleosan, North Cotabato, Juliet Debalusan, 40 of Boulevard, Davao City and
Haydee Maaya of Poblacion 2, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.

Eight of the
victims died on the spot while the 9th victim expired while
undergoing medication at a hospital.

Two of the wounded
were Abel Debalosan, 33, Solida Aceroque, 55.

Van conductorJebon Carpio
Policarpio, 26, of Midsayap, North Cotabato, told DXND Radyo Bida, said the van
was a first to leave Davao for Cotabato City driven by Brendo Singco.

Singco fell
asleep and was awakened by passengers yelling and shouting when we ran out of
line shortly before the vanhit a mahogany tree,” Policarpio said.

Police said
Singco had fled and is being hunted down.The van is traveling at high speed, according to Noy Jasmin, a motorcycle driver from Barangay Lanao, this city. I saw the van headed towards Matalam at a very high speed.I think it was traveling at 130 kph or more than that.I was surprised to see a vehicle travel at that speed at dawn,” Jasmin said. The road accident in Matalam town on Saturday was the worst in North Cotabato, since January. In August, a speeding 10-wheeler truck also rammed at least eight vehicles while traversing the Kidapawan-Matalam highway and killed a tricycle driver and injured 32 others. The accident in Barangay Paco, this city, led members of the Sangguniang Panglungsod and Sangguniang Bayan in Makilala, to pass ordinance regulating the speed limit along the Cotabato-Davao highway. It was the second worst highway in Central Mindanao in the last two months.In August, at least 9 persons were killed when a passenger multi-cab loaded with family members heading for home after a re-union collided with a hauler truck in Tacurong City.

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