Heavy rains prevent rescue, retrieval

May 20, 2009 3:15 am 

of Compostela Valley landslide victims

DAVAO CITY, May 19 –Rescue and retrieval operations in the landslide-hit mining villages in Mangapispis, Sitio Boringot, Barangay Napnapan, Pantukan, Compostela Valley were temporarily halted Tuesday evening due to heavy rains that triggered massive mudflows.

As of presstime, the transport of bodies retrieved from the landslide site was also stopped.

Rescue efforts were also prevented by the darkness in the area since electricity was cut off in the area, making it difficult to retrieve the bodies.

Rescue and retrieval operations were only in a full blast in the morning on Tuesday when the rain stopped. However, only helicopters of the Philippine Navy were able to penetrate the area.

Rescue teams have also found difficulty in their communications since there was no cellular signal in the area.

Muddy and slippery mountain also affected the retrieval operations.

The Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) have identified 18 of the estimated 28 people killed by the landslide that hit the two mining villages on Monday afternoon were all employees of a ballmill owned by Manuel Paña Sr.

They stayed in a bunkhouse which was buried by the landslide.

The PDCC identified the casualties as Adong Gabay, 14; Antonio Paña; Jojo Trespe, 21; Raymer Claudio, 20; Manuel Paña Jr., 1 year old; Manuel Paña Sr., a tunnel owner; Felix Claudio Jr., 18; Allan Gonzales, 40; Sargie Manolin, 21; Dodong Udtohan, 25; Rickrick Subiton, 21; Argie Diolagon, 22; Rose Trespe, 40; Inday Capinan, 25; Taidong Trespe, 21; a certain Boboy M.; and Lynlyn Cantone.

Rey Mawalit, 36, Larry Mawalit, 40, couple Ernesto and wife, another one-year-old child, and Janjan Paña, 13 more were still missing as of press time and feared dead.

Those injured were identified as Alvin Sabio Quino, Celso Mansag, Argie Mahilum, Noel Gabuyan, Robert Caballero, Jodie Trespe, Raul Mawalit, Jovelyn Paña, Manilyn Flores, Robert Paña, Alcer Janero, a certain Bobby, Jimboy Trespe, Argie Janero, Ronnie Paña, Madolin,Raul Baltazar, Fidel Bago Jr., Osias Gabuyan, and Joseph Mandolin.

The incident happened around 3 in the afternoon on Monday, May 18 but rescue teams have difficulty in retrieving the victims since all roads leading to the landslide area were also affected.

Compostela Valley Governor Arturo ‘Chiongkee’ Uy said the provincial government had been warning the residents of the impending danger in the area but they refused to be relocated.

Uy said the area had been considered by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as high risk area but despite pleas, the residents did not vacate.

“Wala gyud ta nagkulang ug pahinumdum sa ila, (we have not remiss in our duty in reminding them),” Uy said.

Meanwhile, Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas also admitted that they have big problem in convincing the residents to vacate the area.

“They even told me they will sign a waiver just to allow them to live in the area,” Sarenas said. (PNA)

RMA/Jessie L. Casalda/lvp

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