MANILA - Rescuers have retrieved at least 14 bodies from a bunkhouse buried in a landslide in the mountain town of Itogon in Benguet, the mayor said Tuesday as police, soldiers, and volunteers continue to dig through thick mud for three days now.
Speaking to ANC, Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the bunkhouse served as home to small-scale miners. He said some of the families of the miners may have been buried in the 300-meter landslide, roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower.
"Kung titingnan mo ang bundok maybe it will be 300 meters ang laki ng na-slide. Around that bunkhouse are shanties constructed by small-scale miners as their temporary dwellings. May ibang may pamilya, may ibang grupo-grupo lang," he said.
Palangdan said most of the people who were buried in the bunkhouse were small-scale miners, whom they have already asked to leave before typhoon Ompong, the strongest to hit the country this year by far, made its presence felt.
In the town of Itogon alone, Palangdan said at least 39 people died due to landslides in different barangays, while 65 people remain missing. He blames rampant illegal mining for the collapse of the mountains.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu had ordered the stoppage of all small-scale mining activities in the Cordillera Region, both legal and illegal. He said he will deploy policemen and soldiers to implement the cease and desist order.