Backhoes to speed up search for missing miners in Itogon, says mayor


Posted at Sep 20 2018 04:07 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2018 04:19 PM

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MANILA - The government on Thursday deployed backhoes to hasten the search for those buried under thick mud in Barangay Ucab in Itogon town, Benguet.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said 4 backhoes were already on the way to the landslide site, where rescuers have been digging using shovels and pickaxes over the last 4 days.

"May dalawang backhoe galing sa Loacan, magsasalubong sila kaya madali na po. Apat na backhoe ang magtatrabaho," he said in a press conference.

(There are 2 additional backhoes from Barangay Loacan. Hopefully, this would speed up the search since a total of 4 backhoes will be used.) 

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At least 22 bodies have been recovered in a buried bunkhouse in Barangay Ucab, a mining site. The structure was buried in thick mud when a part of the mountain collapsed due to rains from Typhoon Ompong, which devastated northern Luzon over the weekend. 

Despite warnings, miners who lived in makeshift shelters near a mining site in Barangay Ucab, took shelter in the bunkhouse owned by Benguet Corp when the landslide happened, police said.

Rescuers are still digging for dozens of missing people. Although chances of finding survivors are slim, Mayor Palangdan remains hopeful. 

"Yan ang ipinapanalangin natin na may buhay pa. 'Yan ang nagpapalakas ng loob sa rescuers natin, na alam nila sa feelings nila, may buhay pa na maabutan nila," he said.

(We're praying that there are still survivors. The thought that someone there might still be alive gives hope to the rescuers.)