NUEVA VIZCAYA, Philippines – Nineteen families of those who died in the April 18 minibus crash in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, have each received P200,000 in insurance benefits, hours after President Duterte ordered the grant of financial aid to the families of the dead and wounded.
One of those who received the P200,000, Aling Remedios, turned emotional as she received the funds from the Passenger Accident Management Insurance Agency Inc. (PAMI) on Saturday.
Her son, one of those who died in the Leomeric bus crash, was supposed to fly abroad soon for a work contract.
At least 34 people died and 43 others wounded when the overloaded minibus crashed into a ravine at a curve on the road in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.
According to PAMI, they decided to rush payment of the insurance benefits – P200,000 instead of just P100,000 announced earlier – in order to ease the burden of the victims’ families.
Meanwhile, each of the wounded passengers stands to get from P20,000 to P50,000 in assistance from PAMI, depending on the gravity of their injuries.
PAMI will resume giving out payments to the second batch of victims on Tuesday (April 25).
The assistance from President Duterte, meanwhile, is for P20,000 for families of each of the dead; and P10,000 for the wounded, according to Atty. Aileen Lizada, spokesperson of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
The President directed LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra to personally hand out the assistance from the Palace.
Delgra explained to the victims that Duterte had wanted to personally hand out the aid, but had a very tight schedule.
Earlier, Delgra attended Holy Mass Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya, where most of the wounded are confined.
Delgra said that besides being overloaded, the Leomeric minibus was out of line when it crashed. It was not supposed to pass through Sta. Fe and Carranglan, where the accident happened.
It should have passed through Madtela town in Quirino province entroute to its destination in San Jose, Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan.
Based on discussions with agency heads from the Land Transportation Office, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, the President also ordered DPWH to fix the signages and road barriers at the crash site.
The PNP was also directed to work closely with LTO and LTFRB in apprehending overloaded buses.
Meanwhile, LTFRB is reviewing the franchise granted to Leomeric.
On May 2, LTFRB will hold a hearing on the complaints against the bus company.
The bus firm had countered the accusation of overloading by noting that most of the passengers were children and thus did not significantly add to the load of the vehicle.
On the out-of-line issue, the bus firm stressed there is no viable route except Sta. Fe and Carranglan.