CARRANGLAN, Nueva Ecija - Mayor Mary Abad confirmed Thursday that two of her relatives were also aboard the ill-fated bus that fell into a ravine in this town earlier this week.
"Taga-Aritao [sa Nueva Vizcaya] na sila. Dadalawin lang nila dito iyung namatay nilang ate. Ang masakit, nasama sila sa aksidente," Abad said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News.
(They live in Aritao. They were supposed to visit their sister who passed away. It hurts that they fell victims to the accident.)
The mayor's 68-year-old female relative, Bernardina Baldovino, was killed in the crash while the latter's 17-year-old son, Jay, suffered a shoulder fracture.
The teenager, Abad said, is still confined at the Veterans Hospital in Bayombong town.
The victims are distant relatives of the mayor. "Iyung mga lola namin, magkakamag-anak," Abad said. (Our grandmothers were relatives)
At least 34 people were killed after a Leomaric bus fell into a 30-meter deep ravine at Barangay Capintalan in Carranglan Tuesday morning.
Some survivors said the bus brakes failed while others claimed the vehicle's front tire suffered a blowout, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
PINNING HOPES ON NEW ROAD
The crash site was an accident-prone area, according to Abad.
"Sharp curve po it. Mataas po ang bangin. Kapag hindi ka nag-ingat talagang mahuhulog ka sa bangin," she said in a separate interview on radio DZMM.
Authorities have started building a safer alternate route from Nueva Vizcaya, which will pass through Carranglan and San Jose towns in Nueva Ecija.
The road, Abad said, will cut through fewer and less shallow ravines.
"Iyung gagawin pong alternate road po rito sa Carranglan, medyo makakabawas po tayo ng aksidente at saka iyung time po time," the mayor said.
(The alternate road here in Carranglan will reduce accidents and travel time.)
The construction, however, is still in the first phase and may take 2 more years to finish.