Death toll in Maco landslide rises to 54, rescue operations continue on Day 5

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

The death toll of the deadly landslide that struck the town of Maco in Davao de Oro has reached 54 as rescuers and residents are hoping for more survivors as search, rescue and retrieval operations continue.

A report from dzBB on Sunday 7 p.m. said the number has risen to 54 fatalities, with 32 injured and 63 still missing.

According to a 24 Oras Weekend report by RGil Relator on Sunday, more bodies were retrieved from the site.

Entry to Ground Zero is limited to rescuers for safety precautions, with debris from the site being transferred to a nearby area and one of the two buses that were buried has been recovered.

“Yung bus, kinabukasan [na] noong nakita yung unit. Wala talagang tao doon maliban doon sa isang jeep na nakita. Pero yung bus, mga after 3 days nakita yung ilalim ng bus… Doon pa may nakitang tao,” said Apex Mining Assistant Safety Manager Rodel Seran.

(The bus was recovered the day after. There really were no people there aside from the one jeep that was found. But for the bus, it took us three days to search the bottom… That’s where we found people.)

Rescuers from Apex Mining have extended their assistance in the operation in hopes of recovering the missing, many of them miners and employees who were passengers in the two buses.

“Tumulong agad kami, narescue namin yung driver na si Oana. Marami na rin kasi ang humingi ng tulong. Marami rin naman ang rescuer ng Apex,” said Mine Supervisor Rodrigo Bayato.

(We immediately helped, and we were able to rescue Oana, the driver. There are a lot of people asking for help too. Apex has a lot of rescuers who are pitching in.)

“Masakit pa rin. Wala naman [akong nararamdaman na pagod]. Tulungan lang kami. Ang kasamahan namin kahit narekober na, magpupursige kaming may iba pang marekober,” added Romulo Aligado.

(It still hurts. I don’t feel [tired]. We’re helping each other. Even afte we have recovered some colleagues, we’re still determined to find our other people.)

Majority of those who died and one of the survivors have been credited to Apa, a trained rescue dog from Coast Guard Southeastern Mindanao.

 Meanwhile, two survivors are expected to be released from the Intensive Care Unit of the Davao Regional Center, Tagum City within the day.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian personally paid a visit to the survivors and extended government assistance.

 He also dropped by a funeral home where he handed out funeral assistance to relatives of the deceased. He later went to Nuevo Iloco High School to personally distribute cash assistance and gift packs to evacuees.

According to an assessment by the Department of Science and Technology, Barangay Masara is a landslide prone area.

In a recent development, the provincial government of Davao de Oro vowed to declare hazard areas as a no-build zone policy.

“The governor really expressed that they are going to implement the no-build zone kasi ini-impose talaga ng MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau). So, the governor has to share with the sentiments of and the policy of the MGB that there will be a no-build zone policy,” said Davao de Oro Executive Assistant on Information and Communications Edward Macapili.

The bodies that have been recovered from Ground Zero are now being  identified by the local government. —Jiselle Anne Casucian/RF, GMA Integrated News

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