Mayor Mateo Chiyawan announced the termination of the massive search, rescue and retrival operations in the town to allow personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to go back to their assignments while residents and volunteers will be tasked to pursue the downgraded operations to possibly locate the missing persons.
“We have to make a painful decision because we saw the sacrifices made by our men in uniform and other volunteers from other places but we have to call of the operation and leave the remaining things to be done to the residents and the remaining volunteers from nearby provinces,” Chiyawan stressed.
The local chief executive admitted that relatives of the missing victims of the traffic landslide were disappointed after no cadaver was recovered by the rescuers over the past 4 days of operations which might call for another adjustment in the conduct of the operation.
Among the rituals that will be performed by the tribal elders include the ‘daw-es,’ a cleansing ritual wherein animals will be butchered and will be offered to help in driving away the evil spirits in the locality and the ‘ngilin’ wherein people will not be allowed to go out of their residences in respect to the departed individuals and those who are still reported to be missing.
Mayor Chiyawan claimed that local rescuers will be deployed in strategic areas within the vicinity of the landslide site to possibly ascertain whether or not the missing individuals have been thrown off in distant areas for the possible retrival of the cadavers.
He expressed his gratitude to the over 500 rescuers from the different government agencies and local governments who provided the needed assistance in the retrival of the cadavers of the 18 persons who were part of the more than 30 individuals who were buried by tons of mud and huge boulders of rocks that came from a mountain slope and buried the DPWH structure that was undergoing construction at Banauel barangay.
“Words are not enough to express our gratitude to the sacrifices of our rescuers who came from different government agencies and local governments who wanted to help in the search, rescue and retrival operations that is why we leave the rest of the things to the Almighty Father for them to shower our volunteers with the needed blessings for them to succeed in their endeavors,” Chiyawan stressed.
He claimed that he still wants the on-going local operations to push through for several days considering that some of the declared missing persons are his relatives that is why he also wants to see their cadavers for them to be given the necessary wake and burial rites,