• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A bus inspector and conductor were hailed as heroes for losing their lives to save passengers of the ill-fated Ceres Liner bus that plunged off a cliff in Antique on December 5, as the death toll from the incident reached 18.
Bus inspector Jayvoni Fandagani shielded teacher Mica Marie Servano, while bus conductor Wilmar Marcelino protected another passenger and child, when the bus fell off a 30-meter ravine in Barangay Igbucagay, Hamtic town of Antique.
“Mica only had several contusions because she was covered by Ceres bus inspector Jayvon Fandagani, who unluckily lost his life, according to a statement issued by Vallacar Transit Incorporated, operator of the Ceres Liner buses.
May the soul of Jayvon rest in peace,” said Antiqueño environmentalist Bong Sanchez in a viral post.
Marcelino was a conductor for Vallacar Transit, operator of Ceres buses, for 10 years. He is from San Joaquin, Iloilo and survived by his wife and two young children.
“Despite the unfortunate outcome, Marcelino bravely saved an Antiqueña passenger and another child during the incident, shielding them.
“Regrettably, he didn’t survive, but the pregnant passenger did,” said businessman Flord Nicson Calawag, Marcelino’s townmate in Tibiao, Antique.
The death toll in the tragedy rose to 18, as of December 7.
Two other Ceres Liner employees also died in the crash.
Meanwhile, Vallacar Transit had established Help Desk centers to provide assistance to the families of 18 fatalities and 11 wounded passengers in connection with the incident.
The injured passengers are currently admitted to Iloilo Western Hospital, Iloilo Mission Hospital, and Angel Salazar Medical Hospital in San Jose, Antique
The 11 admitted patients, including a pedestrian that was also hit by the Ceres bus, are now in stable condition, said Jade Marquez, VTI Media Relations Officer.
Dubbed the Ceres Help Desks, the assistance centers are situated at the above-mentioned hospitals and in Hamtik Police Station, Antique.
Ceres Liner employees have been deployed to assist in the release of medical needs and extension of financial support to the families of the victims, according to Marquez.
The employees are also reaching out to the families of the deceased who have not yet availed of the said assistance, she added.*