ZAMBOANGA CITY: A chartered bus fell on its side following a near collision before dawn Saturday, with another vehicle injuring at least 20 passengers in the southern Philippines, police said.
Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, a regional police spokesman, said the bus, carrying mostly teachers from Basilan province, came from Marawi City and was heading to Zamboanga City when the mishap occurred on a highway in the village called Monching in Zamboanga Sibu–gay’s Siay town.
He said the passengers came from the regional school sports competition. The wounded, he said, were taken to a hospital in Kabasalan town.
The 48-year old bus driver, Pepito Buot, told police inves–tigators that he avoided a collision with another vehicle on the opposite lane of the dark highway and the bus—owned by Rural Transit Mindanao—swerved and fell on its side.
Just recently, a mini van carrying mostly athletes also fell in a cliff in the town of Buug in Zamboanga Sibugay, killing its driver and injuring 14 passengers.
Meanwhile, the bus that fell in a ravine in Bontoc town on February 7, though operated by the GV Florida Transport ac–tually belongs to the Dagupan Bus Co., the Land Transpor–tation Franchising and Regu–latory Board (LTFRB) an–nounced over the weekend.
LTFRB information officer Joel Bolano said the bus company will be asked to explain why the chassis and engine numbers of the bus that killed 15 passengers when it fell in a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province were registered with the Dagupan Bus Co.
Earlier, investigation revealed that the ill-fated bus used the license plate of a unit of Mt. Province Cable Tours.
Bolano however explained that the Mt. Province Cable Tours may have sold its franchise to the GV Florida bus company, but the sale was not relayed to the LTFRB as it might have been considered a “private transaction.”
He added that they have summoned the operator of the Dagupan Bus Co.
The LTFRB has placed the GV Florida Transport under a 30-day preventive suspension following last week’s accident, stopping the operations of its 238 buses some of which belong to Mt. Province Cable Tours.
Records from the LTFRB’s Information Systems Man–agement Division showed that the plate number TXT-872 borne by the GV Florida bus that fell off the ravine belonged another bus operated by Mt. Province Cable Tours.
A further check also showed that the chassis and engine of the fatal bus were tampered and not registered with the Land Trans–portation Office and that the bus was not authorized to operate as a vehicle for hire.