Mayor Mateo Chiyawan claimed that late Thursday afternoon, rescuers were able to extracted a cadaver from the rubbles of the flattened DPWH building, two other cadavers were recovered from a river below the structure while another cadaver was recovered in Balanao, Paracelis town which is several kilometres away from the landslide incident.
At around Friday noon, the local chief executive reported that another cadaver was recovered in Paracelis while one cadaver was recovered in ground zero wherein all of the recovered casualties are now subject to identification by their relatives and elements of the Scene of the Crime Operation (SOCO) team deployed in the area. Further, two other cadavers were recovered on ground zero and were also being processed in the area.
Of the 13 reported casualties, 8 persons were already identified by their relatives while 5 others are still undergoing identification by their family members in a local hospital with the assistance of personnel from an Ifugao-based funeral homes.
Among the identified fatalities include Benito Longan, Junjun Laron, Joel Arevalo, Berto Cano, John Tumakcheg, Juanita Longan, Boyong Castro and Mike Saliw-an.
“Our rescuers are working double time to recover the bodies of the victims of the tragic landslide incident for the sake of their families and relatives. We hope that we will be able to further advance in the on-going search and rescue operations to account for all the victims,” Chiyawan stressed.
With the recovery of the 8 cadavers over the past two days which was in addition to the five other recovered fatalities, he claimed that the missing persons had been reduced to 16.
Chiyawan expressed his gratitude to Public works Secretary Mark Villar who personally supervised the clearing of numerous landslides along the Paracelis to Natonin road that allowed a punch through status up to ground zero Friday noon while on-going works are still underway for the removal of landslides from Banauel to Poblacion which has a span of approximately over 2 kilometers.
According to him, the town needs additional food and relief supplies not only for the residents but also for the rescuers who are working round the clock to retrieve the remains of the victims who were trapped inside the rubbles of the deviated building.
He claimed that rescuers embraced a new plan that will allow the distribution of all volunteers in strategic areas within the vicinity of the accident site so that all angles of ground zero will be covered to fastrack the retrieval operations for the sake of the families and relatives of the missing victims.
The chairman of the local disaster risk reduction and management council pointed out that one of the obstructions of the on-going operations is the fear that huge boulders of rocks from the mountain slope where the landslide came from will gain full on ground zero that could result to further accidents, thus, rescuers are taking their time to implement their assigned work for safety purposes.
Chiywan also expressed his gratitude to officials of government agencies who are now in the municipality supervising the conduct of the search and rescue operations and the relief operations to the victims of the recent onslaught of Tropical Cyclone Rosita.
Chiyawan said the identities of the recovered fatalities will be issued after all the appropriate procedures shall have been completed by the responsible officers tasked to perform the said task.
By Dexter A. See