TACLOBAN CITY—At least 155 people were given recognition for their efforts to search for survivors in the landslide that hit the geothermal facility of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) in Kananga town, Leyte.
Kananga Mayor Elmer Codilla said the town decided to honor the rescue groups who aided the 21 workers who were hurt and retrieved the 14 persons who were buried in the pile of earth and rocks during the March 1 landslide in EDC’s Pad 403, Upper Mahiao, Barangay (village) Lim-ao, Kananga.
“They really helped us a lot during the retrieval operations. And recognizing them is our way of showing our appreciation,” Codilla told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.
Certificates of appreciation were given to each rescuer during a simple ceremony initiated by the Kananga municipal government and EDC at the Sabin Resort Hotel in Ormoc City, Leyte, on March 19.
EDC president Richard Tantoco hailed the rescuers as heroes, saying “they showed us what is in the heart of every rescuer, a heart for service and of selflessness and humility.”
“The landslide was very tragic for everybody in EDC and the community. Still, we wanted to honor these dedicated rescue personnel. We wanted to thank them personally. We wanted to make them feel that rescue work is not a thankless job, after all,” he said.
Among those recognized were members of the EDC, First Balfour and JE Arradaza rescue teams, EDC Medical team, Makati Rescue Team, Ormoc City Rescue Team, the Bureau of Fire Protection in Kananga, the Kananga police and soldiers from the Army’s 8th and 19th Infantry Battalions (IB).
Col. Joel Alejandro Nacnac, of the 19th IB based in Kananga, said soldiers appreciated the recognition because “it showed that in whatever situation, the military as an organization is always ready to help.”
“The recognition is for the soldiers as first responders,” he said in a text message.
Dominic Eamiguel, team leader of the Ormoc City Rescue Group, also expressed thanks. “It is seldom that the efforts of rescue groups like us are being recognized,” said Eamiguel in a phone interview.
The Kananga municipal council also passed a resolution on March 13, commending the rescue teams for “their prompt, timely and appropriate emergency response.”
A separate resolution was also passed condoling with the families of the 14 workers who died in the landslide.
The resolution also thanked EDC and its contractor, First Balfour, for extending assistance to the victims’ families.
The workers belonged to JE Arradaza, subcontractor of First Balfour, who were building a concrete structure to protect steam pipes from debris falling from the mountain when the accident occurred.