Ifugao town observes weeklong mourning for Natonin slide victims
BAGUIO CITY — The Philippine flag has been hoisted at half-staff in Aguinaldo town, Ifugao province, until Nov. 12 to mourn the death of 11 of its residents from a massive landslide in Natonin town, Mountain Province.
The 11 residents, most of them construction workers, were among 30 people who were buried in mud and rocks at Barangay Banawel in Natonin on Oct. 30. Eight more residents were still missing along with six others as of Thursday.
More than 700 volunteers had retrieved 15 bodies from the rubble, after houses and three buildings at the compound of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were dragged when boulders from a mountain shattered a road in Banawel.
“The whole town of Aguinaldo mourns with the families, relatives and friends of those who perished in the landslide,” Aguinaldo Mayor Gaspar Chilagan said in an executive order.
He asked the public to “offer a prayer of comfort and peace of mind” while search and retrieval operations continued.
He also canceled all entertainment events and local government programs, and urged government agencies to extend assistance to the victims’ families.
Following an assessment of retrieval work in Natonin in the last five days, rescuers on Thursday concentrated their efforts at the “ground zero,” the area where houses and buildings crashed.
On Tuesday, one of the rescuers turned over P112,000 in cash recovered from one of the DPWH buildings that fell 5 kilometers down a nearby ravine.
Retrieval work was scheduled to end on Friday, but volunteers agreed to continue digging through the mud following a dialogue on Wednesday among officials of the local government, the Office of Civil Defense in Cordillera, and Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. —KARLSTON LAPNITEN
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