MANKAYAN, Benguet – Rescuers continue to gain headway in the on-going search and rescue operations for missing miners and their family members following the recovery of another cadaver within the huge volume of debris at sitio Elizabeth, barangay Taneg here at around 10 am Saturday.
Superintendent Jonathan G. Calixto, commanding officer of the Benguet Provincial Safety Company, identified the latest cadaver to be recovered as Crisanto Bugtong Ablao, 30, married and a resident of Mayangyang Suyoc, Mankayan, Benguet, who is reportedly under the state of decompsotion after over 7 days of being underneath the debris.
“We hope that we will be able to recover the seven remaining missing miners and the members of their families the soonest after we are able to rid the site of the huge boulders that impede the smooth conduct of our retrieval operations,” Calixto stressed.
At around 4:30 pm Friday, Calixto disclosed the previous unidentified recovered cadaver was identified by his relatives to be Jose Aluyen, 30 and a native of Las-igan, Cabiten, Mankayan, Benguet and who was already brought home to their place Saturday afternoon.
Earlier, the body of Nardo Mocnangan was recovered by concerned residents of Bacwit, Namitpit, Quirino, Ilocos Sur along the banks of the Abra river after he was reportedly washed down the area by the rampaging waters from the mountain slope tht buried their shanties.
Further, rescuers were also able to recover the body of Mrvin Collado Baturi, 31, and a native of Dipaculao, Aurora and Efren Balicdan, also of Mankayan, Benguet during the week-long search and rescue operations.
Calixto added the bodies of Crispin Ablao, Felimon Adcapan, Armando Dayao and Jasper Olivares were retrieved during the initial stages of the search and rescue operations.
He added the on-going search and rescue operations is one of the most difficult activities that he had been involved considering the huge value of the debris and the huge boulders as well as the strong water current being triggered by the intermittent rains that also pose a serious threat to the safety of the rescuers, thus, the need to be extra careful in the performance of their assigned duties and responsibilities within the site.
It can be recalled that a 300-meter portion of a mountain slope within the area collapsed and buried seven shanties being used by small-scale miners as their temporary shelters located below it that resulted to the reported 16 missing miners and some members of their families.
The collapsed portion of the mountain slope was said to be a former mining area of a defunked mining corporation and some of its portions reportedly collapsed in 1975.
Calixto added rescuers had to use pressure pumps to get rid of the huge volume of mud and explosives courtesy of the small-scale miners in order to clear the site of the boulders that impede the on-going operations, thus, he is optimistic that the remaining seven missing individuals could be retrieved soon.