COTABATO CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Region 12 has suspended all off-campus activities in private and public schools in the region following a road accident that left two teachers dead and 41 students injured in North Cotabato over the weekend.
Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd 12 regional director, issued the order in a memorandum following Saturday’s highway crash in upland Barangay Dado, Alamada, North Cotabato that killed three-month pregnant Melanie Iglesia on the spot and Tohame Macalipat, 56, a day after.
Both Iglesia and Macalipat are teachers at the Kabacan National High School.
Omar Obas, North Cotabato schools’ division superintendent, said the visit of the teachers and students to the scenic Asik-Asik Falls were not on the itinerary of the group.
The students, Obas said, attended the Student Leadership Seminar in Alamada and were heading for home Saturday afternoon when the mishap happened.
Mayor Noemi Bartolome of Alamada said of the 43 victims, only four suffered serious injuries, with teacher Iglesia dying minutes later after the impact.
“It was mysterious that many students sustained only minor abrasions and injuries,” Bartolome, a doctor, told reporters.
Police investigation revealed that the group was on their way home to Kabacan, some 70 kilometers away from Alamada, when the truck carrying them plunged into a 20-foot roadside ravine.
Superintendent Aldrin Gonzalez, spokesman of the Regional Police Office-12, said there was a possibility that the driver of the ill-fated vehicle lost control of it when its brake system malfunctioned.
Truck driver Jorge Fajardo and his wife, both seriously hurt, are still recuperating in a hospital as of posting time. (PNA)