A 60-year-old victim identified as Laarni Cabiles Martin was hit by a white Mitsubishi Pajero, around 11:30 AM. on 09 August 2018 in Laurel St., between the former Shopping Center and Acacia Residence Hall. The victim died due to resulting severe head injuries.

In an interview, Sgt. Wilfredo Desierto of the UP Diliman Police (UPDP) Transport Management and Enforcement Team, said that the driver was not overspeeding at that time. “Ang kaso kasi ay hindi overspeeding. Reckless lang yung driver para hindi makita na nabunggo na niya pala ang biktima sa likod ng sasakyan,” he explained. The driver was identified as Emmanuel R. Villamel, a 71-year-old retired Civil Engineer.

According to the police spot report, Villamel did not notice Martin he was backing his car along Laurel St. Due to an alleged hearing problem, the driver purportedly failed to hear the bumping sound. The report said that Villamel only realized the accident when his vehicle already pinned Martin down the street.

The case was turned over to the Philippine National Police Traffic Bureau for investigation and filing of complaints.

Speed limit, humps necessary

According to the UPDP Annual Crime Statistics Report, the number of vehicular accidents within the University steadily increased from 2014 to 2017. In 2014, there are 111 cases of reported vehicular accidents, 135 cases in 2015, 140 cases in 2016, and 162 cases in 2017.

According to the UPDP, vehicular accidents are reported cases of side swipes, vehicle-to-vehicle collisions, hit and run, reckless driving resulting to homicide or damage to property, and bicycle and motorcycle accidents.

“As far as I am concerned, ang speed limit dito ay 30 kilometers per hour. Matanda at hindi lang visible yung mga signage natin kaya hindi pansin,” said Desierto.

Desierto also pointed out that when in-campus roads are rehabilitated, road humps are not replaced. “Importante kasi ang humps natin kasi dini-deter nila ang mga overspeeders. Hindi naman sa nilalahat ko, pero mostly ang nahuhuli naming overspeeders ay mga estudyante,” he added.

What needs to be done

Amid concerns from UP students due to the incident, the University Student Council (USC) raised calls to further improve campus safety.

In a statement, USC Councilor Reiner Gallardo said, “The Safety Security Committee under the USC have plans to coordinate with the UPDP and Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community affairs for the improvement on traffic matters. ##


Artwork: James Atillo


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