BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: Rescuers and people who extended their help when a LeoMaric Trans bus fell into a 100-meter deep ravine in Capintalan, Caranglan in Nueva Ecija last week were hailed as heroes by families and relatives of the victims.
Bayombong Bishop Emeritus Ramon Villena said the rescuers were Good Samaritans.
The overloaded bus was carrying about 79 people, 36 of whom died and 43 were injured.
Rescuers came from the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) led by Gov. Carlos Padilla, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRMO), Philippine National Police, Philippine National Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection and private individuals from the neighboring provinces of Nueva Ecija and Isabela.
Randy Framil, 40, of Barangay Baliling, Santa Fe town, Nueva Vizcaya, thanked the rescuers who saved six members of his family.
Conrado Valdez, 56, of Moncada town in Tarlac, said his two daughters Janet Valdez, 25, Ruby Ann Valdez-Seunes, 29, and his grandson Ross Vann, 7, were among the passengers of the bus who were injured.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18, Mayor Liwayway Caramat of Santa Fe, the nearest town to the crash site, was the first to respond with the municipal government’s rescue team, health office, social welfare office, motor pool, fire bureau and the police.
They were followed by rescuers from the provincial governments of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija and Isabela.
Victims’ kin and witnesses said the municipal government of Santa Fe prepared meals, water to drink and provided fuel for rescue vehicles and ambulances, fire trucks and other private vehicles transporting retrieved victims to hospitals in Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija.
From Aritao (Nueva Vizcaya), the second nearest town to the crash site, Vice Mayor Ruben Sayo served as an ambulance driver joining other rescue teams from the towns of Solano, Bayombong, Bambang, Dupax del Sur, Dupax del Norte and Bagabag towns.
Nueva Ecija PDRRMC chief Mike Calma dispatched two teams in addition to municipal disaster team personnel from the towns of Lupao, Rizal, Bongabon, Muñoz, Caranglan and San Jose City.
The cities of Ilagan and Cauayan in Isabela also dispatched their City DRRMC to help in the rescue operations.
Injured victims at Veterans Regional Hospital in Bayombong and the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Hospital here also thanked all the medical doctors, hospital personnel and other volunteers for their services.
On Saturday, Chairman Martin Delgra 3rd of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also commended the rescuers and other agencies for their heroic response.
Delgra came to Nueva Vizcaya to extend cash assistance from President Rodrigo Duterte of P20,000 for each of the dead victim’s kin and P10,000 to each injured passenger.
He also supervised the distribution of insurance proceeds from Passenger Accident Management and Insurance Agency amounting to P220,000 for each dead victim and P20,000 for each injured person.