Construction site where 3 died part of Taal protected area | Inquirer News

Construction site where 3 died part of Taal protected area

SAN PEDRO, Laguna—The portion of the construction site in Laurel, Batangas, that caved in and left three people dead sits on part of the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape, according to records from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).

On Tuesday, the DENR sent representatives from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the Protected Areas and Management Board (PAMB) to inspect the site in Barangay (village) Dayap Itaas that was cordoned off by the Laurel police, following the landslide past 2 p.m. on Monday.

Three construction workers identified as Amiel Montalbo, 27; Carlo Tenorio, 20, and Rodel Tibang, were buried under tons of earth.


Two other workers, Alfredo Bautista, 50, and Walby Montiero, 27, suffered injuries and have been discharged from the hospital on Tuesday morning.


Senior Insp. Ireneo Bajado, Laurel police chief, said Montalbo, Tenorio and Tibang died of asphyxia.

Environment officials, who were supposed to start their investigation, were denied entry by security guards manning the site.

“I don’t know why. Maybe you should report about why they were denied entry to the site. We’re thinking we might sue them for not letting our representatives in,” said Reynaldo Juan, regional executive director of the DENR, in a phone interview.

Taal Protected Area Superintendent Vic Mercado said only a certain engineer, Oliver Castro, met with them to confirm the exact location of the incident.

Mercado said the workers were building a “retaining wall” made of steel bars (not a riprap as earlier reported by the local authorities) when a large truck passed by Maharlika Highway.

The vehicle, he said, could have “disturbed” the soil and caused the ground to collapse.


“There’s nothing wrong with putting up a retaining wall,” Mercado said in a phone interview.

The accident also prompted environment authorities to review the PAMB permit and the environmental compliance certificate issued to Twin Lakes in August and October last year, to construct a residential resort that sprawled the boundary of Laurel, Batangas and Alfonso, Cavite.

Twin Lakes is the name of the project being developed by Megaworld Global Estate.

The Inquirer on Tuesday tried to get comments from Megaworld but was referred to Pilecon Geotechnic Inc., the company’s contractor for the Twin Lakes project that also employed the workers.

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Pilecon lawyer Lito Go, by phone, assured the workers’ families of “due benefits” and said that the company was also investigating the accident.

TAGS: Calabarzon, News, Regions, Taal

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