9 volunteer rescuers killed in Brgy. Loacan, Itogon; 2 missing

Marje Pelayo   •   September 20, 2018   •   4601

Kalvin Melchor uses the backhoe his father disappeared in to recover his remains.


BENGUET, Philippines – As of Thursday, September 20, nine volunteer rescuers were confirmed dead in Barangay Loacan in the municipality of Itogon after a part of the slope eroded while they were searching for victims from a previous landslide in the area.

They were residents of Sitio Sabkil,  who volunteered to help the authorities searching for family members inside a house that was pressed by the eroded soil.

The group was able to rescue the patriarch of the family and his daughter. The father is now recovering at a hospital but the child eventually died.

“Naka-11 na po tayong nahanap out of 15 na nawawala. So may dalawa pa pong hinahanap ngayon, isang driver ng backhoe and then iyong rescuer po,” said Army Major Mark Antony Ruelos, the team leader of the search and rescue, retrieval team in Barangay Loacan.

Dominador Siblag Jr. was hesitant to allow his son, 22 year-old Mark Anthony, when he asked to volunteer in the search operation.

He recalled how his son insisted in joining the mission despite the unfavorable weather.

Despite his death, Dominador said he couldn’t be more proud of his son.

“Sa akin po eh, si Anthony, hero po iyan sa akin,” Dominador said.

Janette Dimaslao also recalled how her husband, Hector, was willing to risk his life to help in the operation. Hector was a ‘spotter’ for signs of life or bodies of victims in the landslide area.

“Kung talagang may nangangailangan ng tulong, lagi siyang handang tumulong. Sabi nga niya: ‘Sa pagtulong hindi naman natin iyan nagagawa palagi. Pero kapag will mo, gagawin mo ang lahat ng makakaya mo para tulungan ang mga nangangailangan’,” she recalled her husband as saying.

But for Kalvin Melchor, the long wait is agonizing because until now, the body of his father who served as the backhoe operator has not been found yet.

The backhoe, however, was already recovered.

Kalvin is determined to use the same backhoe to recover his father’s remains.

“Patuloy pa rin po ang operation sa paghahanap sa tatay ko. Kasi mahirap, masakit ang nararamdaman namin ngayon na pamilya niya,” Kalvin said.

As of this writing, the search and retrieval operations are ongoing in various parts of Itogon, Benguet where landslide incidents are recorded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

200 miners and families locked down inside bunkhouse in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 27, 2020

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.

According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease. 

“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said. 

All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.

While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.

On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.

Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.

Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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DSWD lauds Benguet town residents for waiving slots in SAP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 4, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has lauded the village residents in Benguet for waiving their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) slots.

Thirty-five residents in Barangay Gambang in Bakun, Benguet opted not to receive their emergency cash subsidy under SAP to accommodate more qualified families.

“The individuals’ families were initially targeted as SAP beneficiaries, but they voluntarily waived their slots prior to validation so that other families in need in their communities will be accommodated in the program,” the DSWD said in a statement.

There are a total of 74,369 SAP beneficiaries in the Benguet Province with  2,439 family beneficiaries in the town of Bakun. AAC

Viral Video: Car rams into fastfood chain in La Trinidad Benguet

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2019

A video of a car that rammed into a fastfood chain in La Trinidad, Benguet on Tuesday (July 23) has gone viral on social media.

According to the video uploader, the incident happened around 12:30 p.m. He also said there were no casualties from the incident including the driver.—AAC

Isang Kotse, Inararo ang McDo LTB#CordilleraShoutoutsNews 23 July 2019. Isang oras mahigit, isang Motor Vehicular na aksidente ang nangyari sa McDo La Trinidad.✍ Admin TIW (The Igorot Wanderer)🎥 Boong Ag#CordilleraShoutouts

Posted by Cordillera Shoutouts on Monday, 22 July 2019


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