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15 bus passengers rescued but more residents feared buried in Davao landslide

Fifteen passengers of two buses buried in a landslide in Davao de Oro on Tuesday have been rescued, but more residents in the area were also feared buried, authorities said.

The two buses buried in the landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro on Tuesday were carrying around 30 people, an official said Wednesday.

“As far as the initial record is concerned, 'yung dalawang bus, iyong isa naman is nasa mga 18 passengers, iyong isa naman nasa mga 12 passengers,” Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) executive assistant on information and communications Edward Macapili told Dobol B TV.

(As far as the initial record on the two buses is concerned, one has 18 passengers, the other has 12.)

So far, 15 people have been rescued from the landslide including two in critical condition, according to Macapili.

“Kagabi, may 14 survivors doon sa bus and one is rescued from the referential site na-rescue din so more or less there are about 15 rescued,” he said.

(Last night, there were 14 survivors on the bus and one was rescued from the referential site so more or less there were about 15 rescued.)

Macapili clarified that only two buses were hit by the landslide as a third bus was able to leave the area before the incident.

The area was near a mining site where employees were working in three shifts for its 24-hour operation, Macapili said. Some workers were about to go home when the landslide occurred.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) said 45 of the 86 employees trapped in the landslide have already been rescued.

“Out of the 86 employees initially reported trapped, 45 have been successfully rescued, with 3 individuals in critical condition requiring urgent air evacuation. Meanwhile, 42 individuals remain in an evacuation area, currently inaccessible by vehicle,” EastMinCom spokesperson Colonel Rosa Ma. Cristina Rosete-Manuel said.

“Efforts continue to locate and rescue the remaining 41 individuals, as declared by Apex Mines,” she added.

Macapili said rescuers were facing challenges with their operation because the landslide was massive, affecting a garage of a bus company, barangay hall, and residential areas.

Due to this, Macapili said it was feared that more people were buried in the landslide aside from the passengers of the two affected buses initially reported.

“Marami po kasing presumed na natabunan (Many were presumed buried),” Macapili said.

“Hindi pa po na-identify (kung ilang bahay ang natabunan) dahil sa laki nga ng bukid na bumagsak. Harap lang nga talaga ng barangay hall, maraming bahay doon," he added.

(It has not been determined yet how many houses were buried because of the size of the field that collapsed. Just in front of the barangay hall, there are many houses there.)

According to Macapili, there were no signs of a possible landslide before the incident as the area has already been experiencing hot weather for almost a week.

For Macapili, the landslide was possibly caused by the saturation of the mountain from the previous rainfall in the area due to a shear line and trough of a low pressure area.

Asked if the residents will be allowed to return to the area, Macapili said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has yet to provide recommendations as the landslides in the area were just recently reported.

The Davao de Oro government has implemented forced evacuation in the following barangays in Maco:

  • Masara
  • Mainit
  • Tagbaros
  • Elizalde
  • Panibasan

Before the landslide on Tuesday night, the PDRRMOs in Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte reported a total of 21 fatalities due to floods and landslides.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the number of individuals affected by the effects of the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan and the trough of a low-pressure area has breached a million. —KG, GMA Integrated News