Latest Stories

They worked to protect EDC pipes from landslides but were buried with them


CEBU CITY – They were working on a project to protect from landslides the steam pipes inside the geothermal complex of Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Leyte on Friday morning when disaster struck.

Suddenly, mounds of earth cascaded from the mountains and fell on the workers of a subcontractor at Upper Mahiao, Barangay (village) Lim-ao, about 10 kilometers from Kananga town proper in Leyte.

Of the 43 workers, 37 personnel have been accounted for, while six others remained missing as of Friday afternoon.

Of the 37 accounted for, five were declared dead, 21 were treated at the EDC clinic and 11 others were being treated at a hospital, EDC said.

The landslide had been triggered by two weeks of intermittent rain, which may have loosened the soil, said Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla.

“It is a forested area. Past few days, ulan nang ulan dito. Kabii, naglindol pa. [It has been raining her in the past few days. On Thursday night, there was even an earthquake,” said Codilla in a phone interview on Friday.

Of the five fatalities, he said only two had been identified. They were Joel Milay and Bonifacio Polinio.

Codilla said EDC and Ormoc City Government were conducting rescue operations to look for the six other workers who remained missing but told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview that the operation was hampered by the intermittent rains, forcing the rescuers to stop the search so as not to put their lives at risk.

According to the company website, the Leyte Geothermal Production Field is the world's largest wet steamfield, which straddles Ormoc City and Kananga town, Leyte.

Its contract area covers 50,361 hectares while total plant capacity is over 700 megawatts.

EDC has mobilized all its personnel as well as equipment in the search and rescue operations, according to the statement issued by Rico Bersamin, senior vice president of EDC Leyte Geothermal Business Unit, and Albert Ignacio of First Balfour, the project contractor.

Ignacio told Inquirer in a phone interview that the 43 workers belonged to their subcontractor J Arradaza Construction “whom Balfour contracted to supply equipment, labor and materials and other resources to finish that portion of the project”.

“We are general contractor (of EDC). Some of the works under our contact we have it subcontracted, he added.

Ignacio said they were building pipe shelter in EDC's Pad 403 in Upper Mahiao to protect the steam pipes.

He described the slopes in the area as similar to the Kenon Road in Baguio where rocks and earth would fall anytime of the day especially when it rained.

To protect the steam pipe, a concrete structure would be built which had a roof and a wall to protect these from the rocks.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Ignacio said the 43 workers of J Arradaza were scattered along the road. Some were just about to start their work while others were just being deployed.

Suddenly the landslide occurred.

Ignacio said some were able to escape but a few were hit by the landslide.

He confirmed that five bodies were recovered while rescue operations were ongoing for the six missing.

Ignacio said they planned to gather the families of those missing so they could be given constant updates.

The EDC has yet to release the names of the fatalities but they said they were coordinating with the families of the affected First Balfour employees.

Mayor Codilla said what happened was an accident because the workers were in safety gear harness and hard hat at the project site when the landslide struck at 9:58 a.m.

“Naa ni sila sa kalsada. Lahat nang mga workers naka hard hat, nakaharness unya naigo sa landslide. Disgrasya gyud lang [They were along the road. They had hard hats and harness when they were hit by the landslide. It was an accident],” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Accidents , disaster , EDC , Landslide , Leyte , Leyte landslide Energy Development Corp.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  • Classmates celebrating 60th birthday among missing in ferry sinking
  • Sports

  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • Marketplace