Quantcast
Latest Stories

4 feared dead in trash avalanche

Landfill firm has admitted liability, says police chief

By ,
,

A PANORAMIC view of the Rizal Provincial Sanitary Landfill, where four workers are feared buried alive on Friday. ROMY HOMILLADA

Rescuers were racing against time as they searched for four landfill workers believed to have been buried alive in a mountain of trash that collapsed Friday afternoon in Rodriguez, Rizal province.

Teams composed of policemen, soldiers and personnel from the local disaster office continued the search on Saturday, although the  “unstable” ground and the poor mobile-phone signal in the area were slowing down the rescuers, said Vicente Tomazar, the director of the Calabarzon Disaster Risk Reduction and Management  Council.

“We believe there are still chances for them to survive within 24 hours. Let’s just hope and pray (we could still find them),” Tomazar said. “We met with the families (of the four) and explained to them why we have  to do it cautiously. The company also extended financial help to them although this does not mean we are giving up hopes that they are still  alive.”

Rodriguez police chief Supt. Arthur Masungsong and Ricardo Badella, an officer of the landfill operator International Swims Corp., headed the  search team, said Tomazar.

Backhoe operator Gary Balahibo and maintenance personnel Pablito Esto,  Rovidico Olod and Eddie Malano were feared buried under mounds of garbage, following a trash slide that occurred at around 4 p.m. on Friday.

Before the avalanche, the four workers earlier received orders to clear trash in a canal to allow water to flow freely to a treatment facility, Masungsong said.

Tomazar said a heavy downpour two hours before the incident might have triggered the avalanche that covered a hectare in the almost 19-hectare  sanitary landfill.

The Rizal Provincial Sanitary Landfill, located in the upland Barangay San  Isidro, is wholly owned and operated by International Swims. It was opened by the provincial government in 2007, following the closure of the nearby Montalban landfill by Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares III, who then cited safety concerns.

The question as to who should operate the sites caused a conflict between Ynares and then Rodriguez Mayor Pedro Cuerpo. Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had to step in to mediate between the two.

The landfill receives a daily average of 3,500 tons of garbage from Metro Manila.

“Individual digging (by use of shovels) is not advisable so we had to use backhoes and heavy equipment. But even with those, we could not fast-track  the search because the ground was so unstable it might trigger another  trash slide. (Cell-phone) signal in the area is also very poor,” Tomazar  said.

He said the search, which had to be stopped during nighttime because of the risks it posed to rescuers, may last for another two to three days.

Masungsong also explained that “we can’t stay for more than an hour in the area because the gas makes us dizzy.”

The police official said International Swims had owned up to its “moral and legal liability” and that its officials could face charges for reckless imprudence.

“We are prepared to assist the relatives (in pressing charges) but no one has come forward yet,” he added.

Girly Singson, information officer of the Rodriguez municipal government, said Mayor Cecilio Hernandez had ordered a thorough investigation and asked International Swims to “address the situation.”

In July 2000, a similar avalanche in an open dump in Quezon City killed more than 200 people and buried thousands of homes. (See “What Went Before”)


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: Accident , avalanche. landfill




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
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Drilon denies involvement in pork scam
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement