Rescue, retrieval operations for missing Itogon miners continue
Nearly 100 people are feared dead in a landslide that buried a mining shelter in Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong over the weekend.
The STAR/Andy Zapata Jr.

Rescue, retrieval operations for missing Itogon miners continue

( - September 17, 2018 - 9:14am

MANILA, Philippines — Search and rertrieval operations are underway for missing miners who may have been buried at a mining shelter in Itogon, Benguet during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) over the weekend.

According to a report from The STAR, the operations are still ongoing at a landslide site in Barangay Ucab in Itogon.

As of Sunday evening, 43 bodies have been recovered from the landslide site, according to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

"(DENR) Secretary (Roy) Cimatu said that in Itogon, we have 43 recovered bodies, one survivor was recovered while 30 others are still missing," Roque said in Filipino during an interview with radio dzMM.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan told The Associated Press by phone that at the height of the typhoon's onslaught Saturday afternoon, dozens of people, mostly miners and their families, rushed into an old three-story building in the village of Ucab.

The building — a former mining bunkhouse that had been turned into a chapel — was obliterated when part of a mountain slope collapsed. Three villagers who managed to escape told authorities what happened.

"They thought they were really safe there," the mayor said. He expressed sadness that the villagers, many of them poor, had few options to survive in a region where big corporations have profited immensely from gold mines.

On Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte blamed the priest for the collapse of the chapel.  

"Nag-collapse yung church... Alam ninyo, kung pinalitan ninyo 'yung pari diyan, hindi magbagsak 'yung simbahan diyan. Bobo 'yung mga pari," he said.

(The church collapsed. You, know, if you had replaced the priest there, the chapel there wouldn't collapse. Priests are stupid.)

— with Associated Press

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