1 dead, 2 hurt in Baguio construction site wall collapse

Justin Aguilar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2017 07:41 PM | Updated as of May 25 2017 01:31 AM

BAGUIO CITY (UPDATED)—A woman died while two children were injured when the riprap or a wall of loose stones at an adjacent construction site collapsed Wednesday afternoon, burying a house in Barangay Kias, Baguio City.

Gemma Mendoza, 39, was declared dead on arrival at the Baguio General Hospital. Her body was found by a joint rescue team of members of the Baguio Fire Station, Philippine National Police Station 4, and volunteer group Rescue 911 On-Call.

“Kanina kasi may narinig kami parang kidlat, akala naming kidlat [pero] may nagsisisigaw na kanina, kaya iyon na, bomba na iyong baha diyan. Ugaga na lahat ng tao. First na-rescue namin iyong baby,” said Jason Wana, one of the first responders to the scene in Pinesville Subdivision, Purok 8.

Two others were taken to the hospital for treatment. They were identified by the authorities as 1-year-old Nathaniel de Jesus, Mendoza's son, and her 11-year-old nephew, Lienary de Jesus.

Mendoza’s partner, Edwin de Jesus, blamed the collapse of the riprap to its poor construction.

“Iyong mga nagpagawa, hindi siguro inayos yung pagpapagawa ng riprap nila. Hiling po sana namin na tulungan kami,” he said.

The owners of the riprap declined to comment on the incident. The Baguio City Police Office is still conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the collapse.

According to Christopher Teoxon, local disaster risk reduction and management assistant, they have yet to assess property damage, as they have not been able to completely clear debris from the site. 

Clearing operations were terminated at around 6 p.m., because the residence's owner Virginia de Jesus said all victims were accounted for, Teoxon said. –with reports from Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News