AS ANOTHER tourist van carrying foreign tourists figured in an accident in Southern Cebu on Saturday, the public especially the tourists are again reminded to only hire legitimate transport operators.
Alice Queblatin, Cebu Alliance of Tour Operation Specialists (Catos) president, reiterated her call amid the accident in San Fernando town in Southern Cebu where a tourist van carrying nine Chinese nationals fell on its side, after it fell into a drainage canal along the side of the road.
Driver fell asleep
PO1 Charben Sapio, Duty Officer of the San Fernando Police Station, told Cebu Daily News that initial reports showed that the Ciriaco Suson Jr., 52, the driver of the tourist van – a Toyota Hi Ace Grandia, admitted that he fell asleep while he was on the wheel.
The foreign tourists and passengers of the van were injured in different parts of their bodies and were rushed to a private hospital in Naga City by responding paramedics.
The passengers are William Mi Tao, 27; Duan Yan, 42; Mao Ruo Yu, 7; Yinji Wei, 38; Hu Tian Yi, 9; Mao Jun, 41; Weng Zan, 31; Hu Bei, 42; and Ke Yan, 32.
Suson, the driver, who was slightly injured, was detained at the San Fernando Police Station.
The San Fernando town accident was the second time that a tourist van driver figured in an accident after falling asleep on the wheel.
The first one was the Alegria accident on Jan. 21, 2017 where seven Filipino American Medical Missionaries were killed and three others were seriously injured. The victims were taking a few days of vacation time before heading to their medical mission in Camiguin.
Tourist van accident
The San Fernando accident also the third accident involving tourist vans in Southern Cebu since Jan. 21, 2017.
The second one happened on Feb. 3, 2017 in Malabuyoc town where a tourist van carrying three foreign tourists from Oslob town and heading to Badian town hit and killed a woman.
The tourists, who were not injured in the accident, were transferred to another vehicle to bring them to their destination in Badian town.
The driver of the tourist van then claimed that he was driving fast and was not able to step on the brakes on time because of the slippery roads due to the midmorning rain.
Queblatin, for her part, advised tourists and the general public to be more vigilant.
“Our recommendation to tourists in general is they should really be vigilant in using only LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) and DOT (Department of Tourism) accredited transportation companies, those legitimate companies only,” she told CDN.
This was the same recommendation they gave to officials of the Cebu Provincial government in a meeting a few weeks ago following the previous accident involving balikbayans in Alegria town.
Yesterday, the LTFRB sanctioned the operator of the tourist van in the Alegria accident. (See separate story on page 27)
Aside from patronizing only proven legitimate transport companies, Queblatin said tourists and the public could also course their requests for transportation through legitimate tour and travel operators like those members of Catos as these agencies would be able to help monitor the transport providers they would recommend.
Legitimate transport providers could be found at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) upon arrival of tourists, she added.
If they would choose to avail of services over the internet, with no assurance, she said, then they would risk the possibility of availing the services of colorum transport providers.
Queblatin said that legitimate transport providers have a fleet of vehicles and drivers as well as dispatchers that make sure drivers are well-rested before doing trips and tours to make sure that they don’t fall asleep while driving.
These companies also have proper insurance.
The LTFRB-7 will also verify if the van involved in the latest tourist van accident last Saturday is registered with their office or not.
“We still have to check (today). We are receiving reports that it is allegedly a colorum unit. But we are waiting for the police report,” said LTFRB 7 Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon.
The van with plate number WB 5523 was reportedly registered under King Ace Travel and Tour Services.
Meanwhile, the Consular Office of the People’s Republic of China in Cebu will be checking on the situation of nine reportedly Chinese tourists who were involved in a vehicular accident last Saturday.
According to Ethel Natera, who works for the consulate, they have not received any calls in their office regarding the incident.
The consulate, she said, gives out emergency contact numbers to Chinese tourists who arrive in Cebu.
“We did not get any calls in our office on that accident. Maybe they are not from the People’s Republic of China. They must be Taiwanese,” she said.
Natera added that when they talked to the San Fernando Police Station personnel, they were told that the policemen were not sure if the victims were really Chinese nationals and only said that they looked like they were Chinese.
The police station had names, but Natera said Chinese and Taiwanese people have similar names.
“We will check if they are indeed Chinese nationals and what kind of help they need,” she added.