MANILA (AFP) – Five people have been killed in a bus crash in the northern Philippines, the second deadly bus accident in two days, authorities said Sunday.
The bus was carrying more than 30 people when its brakes malfunctioned and it toppled into a ditch in the northern province of Abra Saturday, police said.
One person died on the spot and four others in hospital, said regional military spokesman Superintendent Davy Vicente Limmong.
Twenty-eight others were injured in the crash, which came a day after a tourist bus plunged into a deep ravine in a remote northern mountain pass on Friday.
Fourteen people were killed in that accident, including a Canadian man and Dutch woman.
The bus which crashed Friday was headed to the mountain town of Bontoc, a popular tourist jumping-off point to a rustic mountain town famed for hanging coffins embedded on the sides of a cliff.
Also among the dead was a popular Filipino comedian and his artist friends who were supposed to visit a tribal area.
Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said that in the wake of the accidents, a nationwide safety audit of all public transport had been ordered.
“We are investigating the roadworthiness of all types of public transportation, specially buses and public utility vehicles that are the main mode of transportation nationwide,” Coloma said on public radio.
He said initial investigations showed that the bus that killed 14 on Friday was not authorized to travel that route.
Old buses are the backbone of land transport in the Philippines. But they have been involved in frequent accidents due to poorly-lit and badly-maintained roads and drivers working long hours.
Police said 32 other people on board. The deputy provincial police commander, Ramir Saculles, said disfigured corpses were strewn along the hillside, while some others fell into rice paddies at the bottom of the hill.
A local police spokesman, Davy Vicente Limmong, said the authorities suspect either the driver made a mistake or the bus suffered a mechanical failure, since no other vehicles were involved and the weather was clear.
Poorly-maintained buses are the backbone of land transport in the Philippines but they have been involved in frequent accidents, leading to calls for tighter regulations.