Landslide death toll climbs to 71

Michael Punongbayan, Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
Landslide death toll climbs to 71
Army rescuers and government responders recover a cadaver at the landslide ground zero in Barangay Masara, Davao de Oro on Feb. 12, 2024.
Philippine Army / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — More bodies have been found in the rubble of a rain-induced landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro, with the number of fatalities reaching 71 as of yesterday.

Reports from the management of the dead and missing cluster of the Maco disaster risk reduction and management office showed 67 bodies and four body parts have been recovered so far.

The figures brought the number of missing people to 47 from 63, a week after the landslide buried two buses and several houses in Barangay Masara on Feb. 6.

As this developed, members of the House of Representatives filed two measures seeking to investigate the Masara landslide.

House Resolution 1586 calls for a review of the policies of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The resolution was filed by ACT-CIS party-list Reps. Erwin Tulfo, Jocelyn Tulfo and Edvic Yap as well as by Reps. Ralph Tulfo, Eric Go Yap and Ruwel Peter Gonzaga of Quezon City, Benguet and Davao de Oro, respectively.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1587, filed by Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, seeks to investigate large-scale mining activities in the area.

The tragedy could have been avoided if the MGB’s “no-build zone” policy was strictly implemented, the lawmakers said.

Environmental advocates oppose large-scale mining and open-pit mining operations due to their destructive and lasting impact on communities, the congressmen said.

Social workers have been deployed in Barangay Masara to provide counseling to the families of landslide victims.

Special attention will be given to a three-year-old-girl who was rescued after nearly 60 hours of being buried in the mud, according to Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian.

The girl is being treated at the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City.

On orders of President Marcos, Gatchalian flew to Davao de Oro on Sunday to check the condition of the landslide survivors.

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