Unstable ground hinders search, retrieval efforts

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MORE than a month after a deadly landslide hit the Carmen Pit of Carmen Copper Corp. in Toledo City, authorities have yet to recover the bodies of six missing workers.

Biga Barangay Captain Pedro Sepada, Jr. on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, said the search and retrieval operations are challenging because the ground remains unstable and the cracks are widening.

“The search and retrieval operations continue. But the ground is still unstable. A portion above the landslide continues to move,” he said.

“Today, we noticed another crack in the same area in Sitio Proper Biga. It seems like a domino effect,” he added.

Sepada said he and his council met on Monday, Jan. 25, with Toledo City Mayor Marjorie Perales, who advised them to wait for the result of the assessment conducted by the Mines

and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) central office on the area and surrounding areas of the landslide.

Heart Rizarri, MGB Central Visayas information officer, said the MGB central office “will still gather more data” while processing those that they have gathered.

Among the data gathered are the results of a georesistivity survey, which uses a resistivity meter to determine the nature of the earth materials beneath the surface.

The search and retrieval operations are being conducted only about eight hours a day, instead of 24 hours, because of the risk of another landslide and the intermittent rains, Sepada said.

The six workers who are still missing are Jose Carpentero, Jonwel Herediano, Simeon Laconas, John Paul Resuelo, Renante Sepada and Alfred Tautho.

The landslide on Dec. 21, 2020 claimed the lives of Junil Lagola, Ernesto Caspe, Juan Tapang and Dionisio Labang.

Meanwhile, a total of 237 families who resided in the vicinity of the landslide site in Sitio Proper Biga are still housed in the temporary evacuation areas in Camp 1 in Sitio Hag-it and Camp 2 at Sitio Manokan in Barangay Biga.

On Friday, Sepada said each family received P3,000 cash assistance from the Office of Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The Toledo City Government also provided three batches of five to 10 kilos of rice to each family. / WBS