Search continues for Mountain Province landslide victims
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has sent a rescue team of a mining company to help in search and retrieval operations for victims of a landslide in Natonin, Mountain Province.
Mario Ancheta, MGBCagayan Valley regional director, said Australian mining firm OceanaGold also responded to the call of the Philippine Red Cross to provide additional tools for the operations.
Authorities clarified yesterday that 10 persons are still missing in the landslide as only a body part was pulled out from ground zero on Friday.
Concerned local government units took over search and retrieval operations from police and military personnel who were asked to report back to their mother units.
Local government executives in Natonin as well as in Besao and Aguinaldo towns in Ifugao agreed to continue using a backhoe in the operations.
A total of 18 bodies, three of them still unidentified, have been recovered from the mountain rubble.
Day of mourning, cleansing ritual
Natonin Mayor Mateo Chiyawan said they are postponing a post-disaster day of mourning and indigenous cleansing ritual called dao-es, which was originally set for tomorrow.
Chiyawan said residents asked for the postponement until all the victims are accounted for and retrieval operations are concluded.
He said rescue teams are also scouring creeks and rivers in Sitio Ha’rang in Barangay Banawel.
During the cleansing ritual, Chiyawan said residents would be barred from leaving their homes and no outsiders would be allowed to enter the town.
He said the ritual is meant to ward off bad luck.
Mayor Gaspar Chilagan of Aguinaldo, Ifugao issued an executive order declaring a weeklong mourning to offer prayers to the families and relatives of the victims.
Most of those who remain missing are residents of Aguinaldo.