Death of UST student as passenger a warning against drowsy driving

December 6, 2018 - 1:04 PM
Road accident
Image by Markus Spiske

A passenger of a popular ride-hailing service died in a car crash after the driver struggled against drowsiness.

The victim, 20-year-old Marko De Guzman, succumbed to his injuries on the evening of November 27, his aunt Isabelita De Guzman Ocliasa shared on Facebook.

De Guzman, a graduating student of mechanical engineering at the University of Santo Tomas, sustained severe traumatic brain injury from the accident and fought for his life for a month.

“Now, his brain will never be confused, because he will watch from above as his friends and family tell the story of his life and how amazing he was as a friend, a nephew, a cousin, and the best kuya and son ever,” part of Ocliasa’s statement said.

Many people extended their condolences to the family.

Condolences to De Guzman family
Screenshot by Interaksyon

Based on a report, the driver, Allan Sarmiento, was banned from the Grab platform. He had been charged with reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries.

An aspiring engineer

Details of the incident were first shared by De Guzman’s cousin, Steffi De Guzman on Facebook on November 22. It soon made rounds online.

‼️‼️ IF YOU USE OR DRIVE FOR GRAB PHILIPPINES, PLEASE READ THIS ‼️‼️EDIT: We are NOT saying that Grab is the only…

Posted by Steffi De Guzman on Wednesday, November 21, 2018


She wrote that it happened on October 26. De Guzman and his friend were in the backseat. He sat in the middle while his friend Alia sat on the right side.

Sarmiento was going through Taft Avenue when he ran into another car that was turning left at a corner on UN Avenue in Manila. He then continued driving until he hit an LRT post with scaffolding. The Manila Police Traffic Bureau confirmed the encounter at 4 a.m.

Part of the scaffolding of the LRT post penetrated into the windshield and severely injured De Guzman, who was asleep at that time.

De Guzman survived but fractured his skull, the viral post read, while the driver and his friend sustained minor to no injuries.

“From now on, he will wake up every day confused about what and who he sees, and he will feel like he is hearing a foreign language ‘pag kinakausap siya. Magiging parang baby talaga siya. Kahit sarili niyang Nanay, hindi na niya makikilala,” the cousin said.

His mother, Luz Lourdes De Guzman, was the one who spoke with Sarmiento. He reportedly apologized that he was sleepy during the ride.

Marko de Guzman RIP
Marko de Guzman, 20, was a graduating student at the University of Santo Tomas before he died from injuries due to a car crash in Manila.

Grab made several offers to the family, the cousin said, but it was not enough to cover the hospital bills needed for the victim’s recovery.

Ocliasa said in another post that the surgery and other treatments cost “a little over P3 million.” She said that this could balloon to P6 million.

Because of these expenses, several members of the family resorted to create an online fund-raising campaign for the victim.

De Guzman’s relatives continued to update the people of his condition through Facebook.

A month later, however, he could no longer go on.

Grab’s response

Leo Gonzales, spokesperson of Grab Philippines, said the company was in constant communication with the family.

“While the family has not accepted any of our offers, we are continuously reaching out to extend adequate support that would cover Marko’s hospital expenses. We are also assisting them in claiming their insurance, which is offered to all Grab passengers and driver-partners,” Gonzales said.

A UST alumna, claimed that Grab provides at least P200,000 to riders and drivers who figured in accidents.

Grab has its personal accident insurance that covers both the passenger onboard the Grab Car and its registered drivers. This includes the entire trip, from the confirmed booking until the driver drops off the passenger.

Victims can claim reimbursements from accidental death, permanent disablement and medical expenses. In terms of medical bills, people are insured for up to 30 days since the accident and another 30 for the follow-up treatment.

There’s a catch, though. According to finance website Money Max, you can only claim up to P20,000 for medical reimbursements. In case of death or permanent disability, meanwhile, the affected family can only claim up to P200,000.