By AARON RECUENCO
The lead vehicle of a military convoy tasked with collecting supplies for soldiers fighting in Marawi figured in a road accident Monday evening that left seven civilians dead and eight injured in Manticao, Misamis Oriental.
The convoy, made up of three Simba armored vehicles and two trucks, was on its way to Laguindingan airport to get the supplies when the lead vehicle, a Simba, collided head on with a passenger van at around 8:30 p.m. along the national highway.
Police said the driver of the Simba tried to overtake a slow-moving truck and failed to notice the van cruising on the opposite lane.
The crash instantly killed five passengers of the van, including the driver. They were identified as Hadji Latiff Macaumbos, Rey Mancao, Siete Guimba, Jocelyn Baldoz, and Hadji Amin Bangcola, the driver.
Another unnamed passenger did not reach the hospital alive while another died while undergoing treatment.
Among those injured was the driver of a motorcycle that collided with the van following the crash.
PO2 Mario Cano Aninon, the lead investigator, said the survivors were rushed to hospitals in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City in critical condition.
They were identified as Renzonon Pagayon, Raima Pangote, Norjaya Ampan, Hazja Asthia Lanto, Abdul Latiff Lanto, Reham Dom Lanto, Norjana Dimapinto, and Samsudin Domado.
Aninon said the victims were heading to Iligan from Cagayan de Oro.
The driver of the military vehicle was taken into custody and the Simba vehicle was impounded by police pending investigation.
The rest of the convoy was allowed to proceed to their destination.
Military vehicles in some major roads in Lanao del Sur and parts of Northern Mindanao have become familiar sights since terrorists occupied parts of Marawi City last May 23.