Ahead of Christmas Day celebration

AHEAD OF CHRISTMAS DAY. A head-on collision and a fire incident resulted in the deaths of seven persons and injured five others hit Calbayog and Maasin cities, respectively, ahead of the Christmas Day celebration.

ORMOC CITY– Separate incidents that snuffed out the lives of seven persons and injured others took place ahead of the Christmas celebration in the region.

In Maasin City, a massive fire burned down 22 houses while one person died on December 23 while a vehicle collision in Calbayog City on the wee hours of Dec.24 resulted in the death of six persons and five others injured.

The road mishap occurred along Barangay Matobato at about 2:50 am after a ‘Chariot,’ an expanded vehicle was hit by a passenger bus.

This resulted in the death of six persons and injured five others, all passengers of the Chariot.

Killed were James Castila, 20;Arnold Juaton, 19; Angeline Velasco, 34, Shiela Mae, 16 and her sibling Paquito, 14, and Justine Arsenal, 20.

The injured were identified as Princess Mae Arsenal, 20; Trixie, 14; Lissa Luaton, 22; Richard Magcasi, 32, and Lara Jane, 15.

All are residents of Purok 6 Brgy. Malopalo.

It was learned that they were on their way home after attending a Christmas party, the local police said.

The local police said that Chariot, driven by Castila, was traversing from Calbayog City going to Brgy. San Policarpo area and upon reaching Brgy. Matobato, he maneuvered his vehicle going to the opposite lane to escape the early warning device placed near a parked damaged backhoe.

However, a passenger bus operated by CIBL Tourist Transport driven by Rowan Gino, 46, a resident of Road 4 Tinga Labac, Batangas City, was in the other lane resulting in the collision.

The impact of the collision resulted in the vehicle passengers to fall from and unkempt in the middle of the road.

Local residents in the area lambasted the unidentified owner of the backhoe that was left in the middle of the road causing the mess.

After the incident that killed six victims another incident followed when the driver failed to see the equipment in the middle of the road causing another collision.

A resident informed Leyte Samar Daily Express that the backhoe was parked in the middle of the road after an oil spilt from its engine.

Responding rescue groups immediately conducted first aid to the victims but the six victims died on the spot and were declared dead on arrival at the Calbayog District Hospital while the six other survivors are still recuperating for their injuries in the same hospital.
The driver of the passenger bus is now detained at the Calbayog city police station and faces appropriate charges.

Meantime, the fire incident in Maasin City also resulted in the death of one fire victim, Felicito Bulan Zamora, 59.

The 12:30 pm fire took place in Brgy. Tagnipa where most of the houses were made of light materials. Fire out was declared at 3:20 pm.

The Maasin city fire office disclosed that faulty electrical wiring at the rotten ceiling of the house owned by Lando Pedrera started the blaze.

The conflagration, which reached up to alert level 3, spread quickly, burning 22 houses, displacing 24 families consisting of 99 individuals.

Fire Trucks from the neighboring municipalities of Southern Leyte such as Macrohon, Padre Burgos, and Tomas Oppus, and from the neighboring municipalities of Leyte like Matalom, and Hilongos joined the local fire in putting off the fire.

Residents of the village and even those coming from other areas conducted a bucket relay, getting water from the nearby sea, to help firemen put out the fire.

The lone casualty of the fire, according to the police, had already gone out of his house but returned to get his money only to be trapped which caused his death.
Damage from the fire was placed at P10 million.