MANILA - The local government of Subic, Zambales has declared several areas as permanent danger zones after days of heavy rains triggered landslides on Monday.
Local officials said it was the first time devastation of this extent has hit Zambales. Subic and Olongapo were hit the hardest by non-stop rains and floods at the start of the week.
"Nananawagan po ako sa DSWD at marami po kaming nasa evacuation center. Nangangailangan po kami ng damit, pagkain, matutulugan," said Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun.
Subic was also struck by several landslides. In one barangay, residents and rescuers used whatever they could to dig through the rubble.
After hours of digging, a seven-year-old victim was found.
In another landslide, a man lost three children. The bodies of the two have been recovered while another is missing.
The mayor said rescuers have found 11 bodies in Barangay Cawag.
"Sa barangay San Isidro naman po, isang pamilya, nakakita po tayo ng 6 na bangkay doon, at nakuha na rin natin ang isang bata na nawawala na, nalunod."
Khonghun told ANC the two barangays were not even prone to landslides. The areas will now be off limits and the residents will be relocated.
"Nilikas na natin lahat ng nakatira doon sa lugar at hindi na papayagang makabalik pa. Talagang iko-condemn na natin iyung lugar na hindi na pwedeng tirahan," he said.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Director Eduardo del Rosario told ANC that aid has arrived in Zambales.
"Nagpadala na po tayo ng mga national responders. Nandoon na iyung mga tropa ng Northern Luzon Command, nandun na po ang Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, at mga local responders. Lahat po ay nagtutulong at nag-provide ng kanilang mga kakayahan para mag-conduct ng rescue operations," Del Rosario said.
"Ang mga responders natin meron silang mga rubber boats dun sa mga flooded areas, at dun naman po sa mga landslides, may dala silang mga shovels at yun ang gamit nila."
Del Rosario said to prevent a repeat of the tragedy, the disaster preparedness of communities must be enhanced. - ANC