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Bus firm ready to face charges

Panda Coach Tourist and Transport Inc. yesterday said it is ready to face the music over the bus accident that killed 15 passengers, including the driver, last Monday in Tanay, Rizal.

“Panda will face its obligations…We will stand by it…If they (the victims) are really decided to file charges, there’s nothing we can do but to face the charges,” said Bernie Panagsagan, the bus firm’s legal counsel, in an ambush interview at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Quezon City yesterday.

“If possible, if we could settle this amicably (with the relatives of the victims), we would. Because we know court cases are lengthy, it’s very taxing to families. We will try,” he said.

Panda Coach also vowed to give out P280,000 to the immediate families of the slain victims and a P20,000 cash assistance to the hospital expenses of the injured students.

Panda Coach has agreed to the help desk the LTFRB had set up in its office to facilitate the assistance for the victims and their relatives.

“Initially, Panda decided not to talk until we know what really happened. (About) the reports that came out, that (claimed the bus) lost its brakes, you have to understand that tourist buses are not being used every day. Most of the time, it only travel once or twice a month. Our units are well-maintained,” Panagsagan said.

Panagsagan said human error could not be discounted, but maintained that “they do not want to blame” the driver who had also died in the incident.

He also discounted reports that the ill-fated bus was a dilapidated unit and was not roadworthy.
(Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola)

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