Philippine bus falls into ravine, leaves 19 dead and 21 injured

Above, the wreckage of a passenger bus after it careened off a road and fell into a ravine in Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental south of Manila. (PDRRMO, Mindoro Occidental via AP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Philippine bus falls into ravine, leaves 19 dead and 21 injured

MANILA: A passenger bus careened off a winding, dirt road and fell into a ravine south of the Philippine capital, killing 19 people and injuring 21 others, police said Wednesday.
The crash occurred Tuesday night in Sablayan town in Occidental Mindoro province as the bus was heading on a downhill stretch of a road that had been under repair. The bus struck a bridge railing before falling into the 15- to 20-foot-deep ravine.
A mechanical problem may have caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, police investigator Alexis Go told The Associated Press.
Police officer Ian Villanosa said the bus driver was killed and that children were among the injured.
Highway fatalities are alarmingly high in the Philippines due to poor traffic law enforcement, the dilapidated conditions of vehicles, and a lack of safety features like signs and railings, especially in far-flung provinces.
A senator who advocates for traffic safety shared her sympathies to the families of the victims while also expressing rage that such accidents are preventable.
Sen. Grace Poe called for support of a Senate bill that would create a National Transportation Safety Board and other steps such as inspections of public transportation vehicles and strict drivers’ licensing.
She said the crash was a reminder of how dangerous public transportation is in the Philippines. “Sadly, the list of tragic road accidents and their casualties continue to increase because vehicles that are not roadworthy or even those we label as rolling coffins are still allowed to ply the roads with near impunity,” her statement said.


Indonesian 15-year-old raped by brother jailed over abortion

Updated 55 min 23 sec ago
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Indonesian 15-year-old raped by brother jailed over abortion

  • The girl, who was raped by her brother eight times starting in September last year, had the abortion about six months after becoming pregnant
  • Police arrested the siblings in June after a male fetus was discovered at a palm oil plantation near Pulau village in Jambi province

JAKARTA: A 15-year-old girl who was raped by her older brother has been jailed for six months for having an abortion, an Indonesian official said Saturday.
The girl was sentenced Thursday alongside her 17-year-old brother in a closed hearing at Muara Bulian District Court on the island of Sumatra, court spokesman Listyo Arif Budiman said.
“The girl was charged under the child protection law for having an abortion,” he told AFP.
Her brother was sentenced to two years in jail for sexually assaulting a minor.
Indonesia forbids abortion unless a woman’s life is at risk or under certain circumstances if she is raped.
The law requires that an abortion must be performed by a registered professional no later than six weeks into a pregnancy, and the woman must undergo counselling.
The girl, who was raped by her brother eight times starting in September last year, had the abortion about six months after becoming pregnant, Budiman said.
She was helped by her mother who is facing separate charges.
Police arrested the siblings in June after a male fetus was discovered at a palm oil plantation near Pulau village in Jambi province.
Prosecutors had originally asked that the girl be jailed for one year and her brother for seven. They say they may still appeal the decision.
Global health authorities and rights groups have long criticized Indonesia’s abortion laws, which they say restrict women’s rights to reproductive health and lead many to undertake dangerous abortions at illegal clinics.
Abortions account for between 30 and 50 percent of maternal deaths in the country, according to a 2013 World Health Organization report.