3 dead as landslide blocks portion of Mati highway for hours

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TAGUM CITY—Three persons were killed in a landslide along the highway in Mati City in Davao Oriental on Tuesday.

The national road linking Mati City to Tarragona town became passable Wednesday, more than 12 hours after a landslide blocked a stretch of the road, according to Lieutenant Hermie Montelibano, information officer of the Army’s 28th Infantry Battalion (IB).

Montelibano said three bodies were recovered under the debris following the landslide past 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the village of Tagabakid.

Montelibano identified those killed as Arturo Sucnaan, 57, a Protestant pastor; his son Arnel, 35; and one Ellora Mabandos, all of Tarragona town.

He said the victims were on board a jeep on their way to Mati City when a portion of a hill overlooking the road collapsed, sending tons of earth tumbling down the highway.

He said several vehicles, which included a motorcycle, were also buried in the landslide.

Two teams from the 28th IB helped in search and retrieval operations.

Edgar Salanio, Mati City disaster officer, said the area has been declared landslide-prone by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Montelibano estimated some 200 cubic meters of earth covered a 100-meter stretch of the national road. Frinston L. Lim, Inquirer Mindanao

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