Students in Tanay bus crash allegedly forced to attend ill-fated field trip

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - Parents of students in the tragic bus accident that claimed 15 lives said that their children were forced to attend the ill-fated field trip.

Parents of students from Bestlink College of the Philippines in Novaliches said on Tuesday that the school told its students to attend the field trip or fail their class.

Warwin Alvarez, whose niece, April, was among those injured, said April told him those who didn't attend the trip would not pass the National Service Training Program.

The program is required under law of all college students as part of civic education and defense preparedness.

"Parang sinabihan na daw siya na pag once hindi ka sumama ng ano na yan, ibabagsak kita," he said.

[Translation: "She was told that if you don't join (the field trip), you will be marked 'failed" in the subject."]

The students were on their way Monday for a three-day outing at the Sacramento Adventure Camp in Tanay, Rizal when the bus lost its brakes on a descent and crashed into an electric post. The driver was among the 15 killed in the crash. Dozens were injured

Related: 15 dead in Tanay bus crash

In a phone interview with CNN Philippines, Bestlink Colleges denied the claims that those who missed the outing would fail class.

"They're only going to get an incomplete grade because it's not a reason for them that they should be failing for the subject," Sister Nina Basquiñez, secretary to the president of Bestlink Colleges said.

Basquiñez explained students would only get an incomplete grade for the subject, which they could address within the year.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) says it prohibits schools from requiring field trips and excursions.

Field trips should only be incentives and should not affect the final grades of any subject, it added.

Following the bus accident, CHED issued a temporary ban on all out-of-town and educational field trips for all public and private universities.

CHED Commissioner Prospero De Vera said this is the first time such a moratorium is being issued on educational trips in universities.

Related: CHED temporarily bans college field trips

Parents said if the school had not required the trip, some 50 kilometers from Manila, fewer people would have been injured and died.

The Taytay Public Information Office said the bus was carrying 58 students when it lost its brakes and crashed into an electric pole, killing 14 students and the bus driver.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Tuesday expressed condolences to the victims families.

"The Palace expresses its condolences to the families of the victims who died in the fatal bus mishap in Tanay, Rizal," he said.

Abella added, "The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has already been directed to ensure the road worthiness of the buses and to remind public utility drivers to guarantee the safety of all their passengers. The passengers must safely arrive at their respective destinations."

Quezon City 5th District Representative Alfred Vargas, who represents the school's district, called for a meeting between the parents and the school.

However, school officials failed to show up at the meeting on Tuesday.

Vargas said he will launch a formal investigation on the incident so that Bestlink's officials will speak up and clarify details regarding the accident.