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13 burned to death in Cotabato highway mishap

COTABATO CITY (Updated 6:09 p.m.) — Thirteen passengers were burned to death when a commuter van was rammed by a speeding dump truck and caught fire in a bizarre accident in Barangay Luhong in Antipas, Cotabato on Monday.

Responding policemen and municipal officials have identified only six of the 13 fatalities as of past 4 p.m. Monday. These are van driver Nonoy Bunda, Ryse Vince Lopez, Irish Lopez, Coco Pojas Kimberly Shane Armada and Jenivive Vicente.

Witnesses said the collision was so forceful that the passenger van first flipped, rolled over and plunged into a flood control ditch along the stretch of the highway in Barangay Luhong before it burst into flames.

The dump truck capsized and landed on its side some six meters away from the van and also caught fire.

Col. Gilbert Balneg Tuzon, Cotabato provincial police director, on Monday afternoon said that probers from the Antipas Municipal Police Station and personnel of the Antipas Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office are still trying to determine who was at fault in the peculiar road accident.