Agriculture secretary William Dollente Dar deeply condoles with 19 farmers who perished in an unfortunate vehicular accident, 7 pm, on October 31, 2019.

The farmers were on their way home to Lattut, Cagayan, when the Elf truck they were riding fell off into a ravine in Sitio Gassud, Barangay Karikitan, town of Conner, in Apayao province.

"My family and I, and the entire Department of Agriculture, extend our sincerest condolence to the families of Lallut farmers, who came from an inbred rice seeds distribution ceremony, in Rizal, Cagayan, held earlier in the day," said Secretary Dar.

"Initially, we have given the surviving families P15,000 and a cavan of rice," said Dar.

The token amount and rice are on top of the cash assistance shared by the Provincial Government of Cagayan and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, according to DA Cagayan Valley regional director Narciso Edillo.

"On behalf of the DA family -- RFO2, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and other concerned bureaus and agencies -- we will extend every possible assistance to the relatives of the victims and those injured," added Secretary Dar.

He said he is closely monitoring the situation, adding that he and his family are deeply touched with this unfortunate accident.

The DA has also given P15,000 to those injured, totaling 21.

According to news reports, the Elf truck, with 44 passengers, including the driver, was going uphill when its engine suddenly conked off, along with its brake system, causing it to fall off a ravine. The overloaded elf also carried dozens of sacks of inbred rice seeds and corn. Three passengers were unhurt, according to news reports.

The victims and those injured were rushed to Conner District Hospital and Cagayan Valley Medical Center. ###

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