CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City — The 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA)’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) has rescued 17 workers and retrieved six dead bodies from a landslide site at the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) geothermal complex in Sitio Upper Mahi-ao, Brgy Lim-ao, Kananga Leyte.
The rescue and recovery operations were conducted by 19th IB members immediately after the landslide occurred and until last Monday.
According to Lt .Col. Joel Alejandro S Nacnac, Commanding Officer of 19th IB, the rescuers were optimistic that there are still survivors, even on the fourth day of retrieval operations.
“We will continue to secure the area and aid other rescuers in retrieval operations. We hope that there are workers still left alive from this unfortunate incident,” Nacnac said.
Nacnac said it was his men participating in a security drill with EDC workers who first responded to the incident at around 9:50 a.m. last Friday, March 1.
“A platoon of soldiers led by Lt. Amin Macalintangue heard an extremely loud sound prompting them to quickly scour the area located at the vicinity of the EDC,” Nacnac shared.
“I highly commend the troops of the 19th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro S. Nacnac for their invaluable efforts in saving 17 workers of the First Balfour Corporation from a landslide at the EDC complex in Kananga, Leyte. Their dauntless efforts saved the lives of these workers,” said 8ID commander Maj.Gen Gerardo T. Layug.
“Rest assured that the 8ID troops will continue to perform search and rescue operations that may be caused by natural or man-made disasters in the region,” added Layug who also extended his gratitude to members of the 19thIB who, he said, risked their lives in saving others during his visit last Monday at the Headquarters of 19IB in Kananga, Leyte.
As of press time, the 19thIB accounted for 17 survivors from the incident, 10 of which were immediately brought to the hospital the same day when the incident occurred.
On the other hand, the death toll has now been raised to six, leaving at least nine more missing.
The Department of Energy (DoE) has already suspended the operations of the geothermal plant of the Lopez-led EDC in Leyte.
However, the EDC, in a statement, clarified that the suspension ordered by the DoE ordered covered only Pad403, the section where the landslide occurred, and not the entire facility.
Phoebe Jen Indino | Manila Bulletin | March 6, 2013 | Article Link