Rescuers ordered to leave as fresh landslides threaten Itogon

Rambo Talabong
Rescuers ordered to leave as fresh landslides threaten Itogon

Rappler

From about 900 responders, only 30 are allowed now. Authorities are worried that rains for the past 2 days will bring landslides again in this Benguet town.

MANILA, Philippines – From a maximum of 900 people responding to the massive landslide in Itogon, Benguet, national government is limiting deployment to the site down to 30 rescuers.

Brigadier General Leopoldo Imbang confirmed to Rappler on Friday, September 21 the order from the Department of National Defense’s Office of Civil Defense (OCD). 

 

Imbang, who heads the military contingent of the ongoing search, said the OCD made the decision for the safety of rescuers. (READ: Rescuers of Itogon: No surrender until all bodies found)

The first massive landslide that occurred on Saturday morning, September 15 was triggered by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut). 

What’s the risk? It has been raining for the past two days in Itogon, and the OCD is worried about another fatal landslide.

This was echoed by police deployment leader Chief Superintendent Rolando Nana, who said in a text message that the reason for the reduction of deployment is “Umulan (It rained).”

Nana said 2 backhoes already managed to reach the site of the disaster. He added, however, that they would still need more than 30 rescuers for a swift rescue operation.

The rescuers in the landslide site consist of police, firefighters, and soldiers. Meanwhile, Benguet locals, including families of victims, form the volunteer corps. (READ: In Itogon, sister volunteers to dig beneath the soil to look for brother– Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.