After the fatal accident on the infamous “Killer Highway” in Barangay Sta. Lucia, community leaders organized a religious ceremony to consecrate the area, while the local public works and highways installed cautionary signs along the roadside to urge drivers to slow down and prevent future catastrophes.
According to Victor Balingit, the barangay captain of Sta. Lucia, the mass was held in an area where vehicular accidents occur frequently.
The location is particularly prone to accidents between Kilometers 27 and 28, which have led to several passenger deaths in the past. The most recent accident involved four passengers of a shuttle van traveling from Quezon to Puerto Princesa City.
“Nag-usap kami sa buong council ng barangay ng Sta. Lucia na pabasbasan namin kay father, baka ito ang tanging kailangan para matuldukan na yong mga aksidente dito (We talked to the entire council of the barangay of Sta. Lucia that we will have a blessing from father, as this might be the only thing needed to put an end to the accidents here),” Balingit said.
“Kailangan may signage at paalala sa mga driver na mag-ingat na lang talaga—nasa driver kasi talaga ang pag-iingat para ang mga pasahero nila makaiwas sa aksidente (There needs to be signs and reminders for drivers to be more careful—it really is up to the drivers to be cautious so that their passengers can avoid accidents),” he added.
The religious ceremony was held in the site by Fr. Arnel Cauba and Fr. Jomen Arcelo. After the service, the two priests rode together in a vehicle and sprinkled holy water on the entire stretch of the highway, from Brgy. Sta. Lucia to the boundary of Brgy. Montible and Brgy. Luzviminda.
Balingit said there have been stories of unusual incidents in the location where the accident occurred, such as unforeseen forces that appear to pull vehicles passing by.
To show respect for any entities present in the area, he would honk his horn and throw coins as he passed through. While the truth behind these claims may be debated, he said there is nothing wrong if people believe so they would be careful, especially the drivers.
“Ako nga nagbubusina kapag dadaan dyan, at nagtatapon din ng barya (I honk my horn when passing by there, and I also throw coins),” he said.
As an additional safety measure, the Puerto Princesa City Police Office and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have installed new signage warning drivers of the area’s accident-prone nature and its history of fatalities.
This new signs serve as a reminder for all motorists to be vigilant when driving through Barangay Sta. Lucia, the local DPWH office in the third district said. (with a report from R. Luzares)