Landslide area in Camarines, Sur
On December 29, the family of Melvin Gonzales was having dinner when they heard a roaring sound amid the heavy downpour.
The sound marked the rock slide at the upper part of their house.
“Iyong paglingon ko, ang bahay namin bigla na lang pumutok. Tinulak na kami ng lupa,” Melvin recalled.
Melvin, his wife and 5 children managed to run out of danger.
However, his three children where buried alive in the landslide.
Meanwhile, all 8 children of Jose Ferno also died in the incident.
Authorities are still in search of his wife and youngest child.
“Hindi ko alam na ang ulan pala dito malakas sa Legazpi. Hindi naman masyado dito pala yung ulan bumagsak kaya namanatag ako doon,” said Ferno.
Based on the record of the local government ng Sagñay, Camarines Sur, the number of fatalities in the landslide in Brgy. Patitinan has reached 30.
Sagñay officials said they did not lack on reminding the residents in landslide-prone areas to evacuate.
However, Mayor Evelyn Fuentebella admitted that they did not enforce a mandatory evacuation.
“Just to inform them na it;s delikado kasi actually hindi namin ini-expect ito. Sino ba naman na gusto itong mangyari ‘di ba? Hindi kami nagmandatory. ‘Yun lang siguro pero they we’re warned,” said the local chief executive.
On Wednesday morning (January 2), rescue teams of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have arrived to help in the search of 16 missing individuals in Sitio Igot and Sitio Garang of Brgy. Patitinan.
“Meron daw doon kung saan nag-evacuate ang mga victims. Iyong chapel yata so ang balita mula ngayon hindi pa nila napapasok iyon. So iyon ang pagpunta namin ang isu-survey namin. Iyon ang magiging concentration namin,” said Philippine Army DRU officer LTC Joel Sobrera.
“Sana makuha natin pero gagawin naman namin lahat ng magagawa namin para mahanap natin lahat,” said MMDA Public Safety Officer Allan Nicart Longcop.
Vice President Leni Robredo also arrived in Brgy. Patitinan to personally visit the situation of the residents in the area.
The vice president provided aid to the landslide-affected residents.
Robredo has recommended to the local government of Sagñay the forced relocation of the residents in landslide-prone areas.
“Identify alin ba mga lugar yung hindi na talaga pwedeng patirhan at talagang pwersahin yung mga taong huwag nang bumalik,” said the vice president.
“Meron na akong resettlement area sa Brgy. Del Carmen. Inooffer ko sa kanila pero alam naman ang mga tao they don’t want change parang ito ano lang ito yung nangyari lang yung ganun pero hindi nila iniexpect na mangyayari ulit but we are trying our best na umalis sila dito,” said Mayor Fuentebella.
The mass burial of the victims of the landslide is set on Thursday (January 3). – Allan Manansala / UNTV News and Rescue