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CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Authorities called on families living on the edges of mountains and near hillsides to evacuate as heavy rains continued in Northern Mindanao and caused landslides, one of which buried at least five people in Bukidnon.
Police said a couple as well as three government workers tasked to do road clearing operations were buried alive during a landslide in Malitbog town, Bukidnon, on Monday afternoon, October 17.
Malitbog town police chief Lieutenant Danilo Sabornido identified the victims as couple Lucrecio Lauronal and his wife Angelina, and local government workers Nerio Talines, Raffy Simprota, and Jordan Achas.
Talines was a backhoe operator and Simprota was a dump truck driver, while Achas served as their aide.
Police said the three workers were sent to Sitio Mabuhay, Barangay San Luis in Malitbog to clear a road that became impassable because of mud and other traffic obstructions when a part of the hill collapsed on them.
Police Senior Master Sergeant Charlie Ganzan said the workers were taking a break inside the home of the Lauronals when mud wrecked and buried the two-story house.
Sabornido said the impact made the concrete house collapse and then buried everyone and everything in it.
The landslide also damaged the government-owned backhoe and truck.
The couple’s son, who went out to buy food in a nearby market, was horrified to see the house gone when he returned. Social workers were sent to help the traumatized child.
“We are calling on families in dangerous areas to look for safer places because the continuous rain would likely cause more landslides,” said Sabornido.
Malitbog town Mayor Gary Casiño said it was the first time in recent years for the local government to record a landslide in the village of San Luis.
“We are appealing to people living on the edges and at the foot of mountains and hills, not only in Bukidnon but anywhere in the region, to be careful because the volume of rainwater has already saturated the soil,” Casiño said.
He said search and retrieval operations were ongoing, and he was hoping that workers would still find survivors.
Many parts of Northern Mindanao have been seeing heavy rain almost daily since last week. On Sunday, October 16, hundreds of families evacuated to safer grounds after a downpour caused flooding in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental. – Rappler.com