The provincial government of Bohol will extend “full financial assistance” to the families of four people who died when a bridge in Loay town collapsed Wednesday afternoon, which also left 20 others injured, the governor said.
“The provincial government will be extending full financial assistance to the four (casualties) there… Unfortunately, there is one Austrian national, a male, and we have contacted the Austrian embassy about repatriating his remains. But for the victims, they will be accorded full respect and full support from the provincial government in terms of financial support,” Governor Arthur Yap said in a briefing shortly before midnight Wednesday.
The governor would not name the four casualties, saying he is “not at liberty to state their names.”
He said 12 vehicles went underwater in Loay River and authorities are still validating information that there are still three more cars that remain submerged.
“There was a preliminary video that showed other vehicles. But that (is) still to be confirmed because, after the three dives, these three vehicles have not yet been identified,” he said.
Right after the incident at past 4 p.m., 10 to 15 rescuers conducted three dives to locate the vehicles and persons who may have been stuck inside their cars.
The 20 survivors retrieved from the vehicles were in a state of shock when treated for their wounds.
After the last dive at 8:30 p.m., Yap said the divers terminated the search and rescue operations due to strong rains and current at the river.
Yap assured that the new bridge will become passable again in two to three days, adding that “if weather is not cooperative, then we will see but the order of the day is for it to be finished as soon as possible”.
“We are instructing DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) to prepare a report as we conduct the operations on exactly what happened here, considering that lives were lost, considering that people were hurt. There will be an inquiry,” he said.
The governor urged motorists to take an alternate route and avoid passing the area.
“For tomorrow (April 28) the diversion road will be: those who are going to Tagbilaran City through Jagna town can use the Loboc via Sikatuna road. Those who are Baclayon take the provincial road at Hinawanan, Loay traversing the Kulanasan road in Loboc and right turn to Poblacion, Loboc. Those who are going from Jagna to Tagbilaran City, can take the Loboc road to Sikatuna and if you are going to the coastal road turn left upon reaching Doria Elementary School in Kalunasan, Loboc through the provincial road going to Hinawanan, Loay,” he said in Cebuano.
Yap said he is in touch with Vice Governor Rene Relampagos on the plan for Bohol Provincial Board to conduct a fact-finding inquiry, adding that he discussed with Loay Mayor Hilario Ayuban a possible fusion of the investigations to expedite the process and conserve resources.
“I understand that Mayor Ayuban, the Sangguniang Bayan of Loay will also be doing (an investigation) but there is a possibility as requested by the mayor that we can now unify the processes so that we do not take too much time and resources away from the more important task right now of locating all possible victims and retrieving all the debris and the cars that may be under the water at this point in time and to locate other debris that may still be here and will hamper the nautical traffic in the area,” he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency