Military reports landslide at remote mining village in Davao OrientalBy Frinston L. Lim
TAGUM CITY, Philippines – Rescue operations are underway Friday at a remote mining village in Davao Oriental where a landslide occurred late Thursday but officials were as yet unable to say if there were any casualties.
Lieutenant Weng Getongo, information officer of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion, said the avalanche occurred during heavy rain in Sitio (sub-village) Bangol, Barangay Tubaon in the municipality of Tarragona at around 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Getongo said there was still no official word on casualties, and reports that dozens were killed our injured were “mere exaggerations.”
Two tunnels were affected by the landslide, one of them owned by a village official in Lupon, also in Davao Oriental, according to Maj. Jacob Obligado, 10th Infantry Division civil-military operations chief.
“We are still verifying reports [about casualties]. A rescue team was already on the way to the area,” Emalyn Oliveros of the Davao Oriental disaster risk reduction management council told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Getongo said the area was five to six hours away from Mati City, the provincial capital, and an update could be expected later Friday.
Oliveros said one person was reportedly injured and was now being treated at a local hospital.
Thousands of small-scale miners from different parts of Mindanao have swarmed to Bangol to dig following the discovery of gold there recently.
Last July, Governor Corazon Malanyaon ordered a stop to all small-scale mining operations in the area, citing environmental hazards.
The Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau also recommended the closure of all small-scale mining operations in the area to its susceptibility to landslides and cave-ins.