Retrieval of landslide victims ends
Final death toll in EDC Leyte mishap stands at 14By Joey Gabieta and Connie E. Fernandez |Inquirer Visayas
TACLOBAN CITY—The retrieval of bodies of victims of a landslide inside the geothermal complex of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Kananga, Leyte, ended yesterday with the recovery of two more bodies, which brought to 14 the death toll in the accident.
Rescuers found Salvador Yabana, of Kananga, at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday. Less than 12 hours later, Jorden Salcedo, of Ormoc City, was retrieved at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday.
The bodies of Yabana and Salcedo were identified by relatives at the Kananga Hospital.
They are expected to be buried immediately since their bodies were already in a state of decomposition when found by search teams from the EDC, city government of Ormoc and the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion.
A total of 14 workers were killed in the landslide that hit EDC’s Pad 403 in Upper Mahiao, Barangay Lim-ao, Kananga, on March 1.
At least 20,000 cubic meters of debris, loosened by days of rain, cascaded from the mountain, creating marks 60 meters long and two meters tall. The debris reached the road and pipelines.
The 14 dead were among 45 workers who were building a concrete shelter to protect steam pipes from landslides. The workers were hired by JE Arradaza, which was subcontracted by First Balfour, general contractor of the EDC.
Albert Ignacio, senior vice president of First Balfour, said that aside from recovering all the missing workers, the company had also cleared the road in Pad 403.
But he added the construction of the shelters to protect steam pipes has been suspended pending results of an investigation being conducted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
EDC also suspended repairs on a section of the pipe that was hit by rocks during the landslide.
The DOLE in Eastern Visayas set a hearing on Friday that representatives from EDC, First Balfour and JE Arradaza are expected to attend.
Ignacio said DOLE officials want to find out the cause of the accident, if proper safety procedures had been followed, if the workers had been insured and if families of the victims had been given proper benefits and compensation.