Families of recent road accident victims in T’boli town in South Cotabato received assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.  (Photo by Shalleynie Usman / DSWD-12) 

KORONADAL CITY — Survivors and families of passengers killed in a road accident on Tuesday in remote village of T’boli town in South Cotabato received assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a senior government official said Thursday.

At least  20 people died, mostly children, and 14 others injured when the ill-fated forward cargo truck they were riding in plunged into a deep ravine after its brakes malfunctioned while traversing a downhill highway in the border of Lamsalome and Lambangan villages in T’boli town.

The victims were heading back to nearly Surallah town, also in South Cotabato, from an overnight birthday celebration in General Santos City when the freak accident happened. 

Citing Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista’s directive to ensure the needs of all victims provided, Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 regional director, said the agency handed over 68 family food packs yesterday. Immediately after finishing the assessment and evaluation of the affected families today, each of the families of 20 fatalities will be given P25k for the burial assistance, and 10k financial assistance each to injured passengers.

According to Dir. Espejo, local governments of Surallah and T’boli towns also gave P10k and P5k, respectively, to all the families, while all the medical expenses for those injured are shouldered by the provincial government of South Cotabato.  

“We are deeply saddened and our Secretary conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families,” Dir. Espejo said. In the Philippines, at least 34 Filipinos died daily due to road accident, according to data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, an estimated 1.25 million people killed and over 50 million are injured in road crashes yearly. (DSWD-12 / Jeoffrey Maitem with additional reporting from Dennis Domingo)