After a series of near-fatal vehicular accidents involving UST students in Arsenio H. Lacson Avenue since January this year, University officials requested the city government for more safety measures to be installed in the area.

According to Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Melchor Saria, O.P., who is also in charge of UST’s buildings and grounds, the University has asked the city government and the Metro Manila Development Authority to construct a pedestrian overpass in the España-Lacson intersection area and remove the pedestrian lane in front of the UST Lacson gate to force pedestrians to follow the stoplight on Pi Y Margall street.

“The difficulty in (traffic flow) is that there are two stoplights on Lacson St. (that sandwich) the pedestrian (lane),” Fr. Saria told the Varsitarian. “I think the solution is to provide a pedestrian overpass near the Lacson-España intersection (even if) people will have to walk farther (to cross the street).”

As of press time, the local barangay is temporarily providing two tanods to oversee traffic in the area until the city governments set.up the new measures.

Last Feb. 4, siblings Jomer and Marie Joy Racca, fourth- and second-year UST High School students were crossing the street just outside the UST Lacson gate at 6:35 a.m. when a speeding Eagle Star bus ran over them, while a six-wheeler truck pinned second-year Medicine student Pamela Mondejar under its left front wheel near the corner of Lacson and Dapitan streets last Jan. 15.

Witness Armand Salazar, a sari-sari vendor in the area, brought Mondejar to the UST Hospital (USTH) immediately after the incident at around 6 p.m..

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According to the Security Affairs Office, Marie Joy Racca, 15, who sustained multiple-body injuries was released from USTH, while brother Jomer, 17, has been out of the intensive care unit since Feb. 11.

The siblings’ physician, Dr. Patrick Moral, said Jomer, whose injury was “more extensive (than Marie Joy’s),” has undergone several surgeries but still needs “some rehabilitation to gain functionality.”

“It’s hard to say when Jomer can be discharged (from the hospital) because the surgeon might still need to do surgery on him,” Moral said. “Otherwise, he’s generally doing well.”

The Racca family also refused to comment pending the investigation on the accident, while the Eagle Star Transit Corporation told the Varsitarian they are also conducting their own investigation.

Meanwhile, USTH plastic surgeon Dr. Edgardo Orlina who attended to Mondejar said his patient broke her pelvis bone and “nawala ang buong skin sa right thigh.”

“We cannot tell (how long) it will take to cover (the wound),” Orlina said. “But she will be okay except for the deformity that she will have.”

UST High School principal Zenaida Roda told the Varsitarian that the parents’ association will meet with University officials to discuss possible preventive measures. R. D. Tan with reports from M. E. V. Gonda

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