CORDILLERA policemen on Wednesday pressed their search-and-retrieval operations on victims of severe tropical storm ‘Maring’ which ravaged the region this week leaving scores of people dead and missing.
As of press time, authorities said that 11 died while 22 went missing as heavy rains brought about by ‘Maring’ triggered flash floods and landslides in Northern Luzon including Baguio City and Palawan.
As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, authorities have opened eight spillway gates in Ambuklao Dam and six in Binga Dam, all located in Benguet further causing flooding in the area.
“We’re now mounting all-out efforts to search for the victims of landslides in the region,” said Cordillera Police Regional Office director, Brigadier General Ronald O. Lee as search-and-rescue workers used dogs and life-detecting sonar in their effort to find the victims who were submerged under mud.
A landslide that struck Barangay Dominican-Mirrador in Baguio City killed an elderly man while his two granddaughters went missing. A sister of the two was retrieved at the site and is now in the hospital.
In La Trinidad, Benguet, three young siblings—an 8-year old girl; her 6-year old brother and their 2-year old sister- were killed in a landslide that destroyed their home. The victims’ parents survived the tragedy.
An unidentified woman also drowned in Candon, Ilocos Sur while another was swept by rampaging waters of the Badoc River in Ilocos Norte.
A 33-year old woman also drowned in Iguig, Cagayan.
Floodwaters that hit Pangasinan, La Union and Cagayan provinces also caused the evacuation of more than 1,000 local residents.
Another five were reported killed in floods and landslides that hit several towns of Palawan on Tuesday.
Brig. Gen. Lee said that members of the Cordillera Regional Mobile Group, the Baguio City Police Office and the City Mobile Force Company are involved in the search-and-retrieval operations in Marosan Alley in Dominican Mirrador area.
He said that two landslide victims were also rescued in Itogon and La Trinidad municipalities in Benguet while one was found dead in Mankayan town.
Lee said that there are around 198 persons in the region who are now being housed in government evacuation centers in the region which was also hit by a power outage.
He said that 27 municipalities in Benguet and three in Mountain Province were hit by a blackout while 19 areas in Abra, Benguet and Ifugao had no cell phone signal.
Lee said that local authorities are also still clearing roads in the region which were rendered impassable to vehicles due to landslides, various debris and soil erosion.
The official identified the three children who died in a landslide that destroyed their house in Sitio Ubbog in Barangay Ambiong, La Trinidad, Benguet 7:30 p.m. Monday as Niggel, Butchok and Ayesa Telego.
The victims were inside their house when its roof gave in after being covered by rocks and mud.
Reported missing inside the Reyes Compound in Marosan Alley, Dominican Hill, Baguio City were Dante Ocampo,53; Alfredo Ocampo, Jr.,49; Thalia Kassidee Ocampo,4; and Judy Rose Tulipas,12. Injured was Marie Joe Ocampo who told authorities that she, her husband Alfredo and brother-in-law Dante were evacuating their household materials when they landslide hit their place trapping the victims.
Mrs. Ocampo said she was able to survive when her husband pushed her strongly as a heavy flow of mud was coming to their direction.
In Cagayan Valley, Police Regional Office 2 director, Brig. Gen. Steve B. Ludan inspected his men who were busy helping local residents affected by heavy flooding in the region specifically in the municipalities of Claveria, Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Abulug and Allacapan.
Ludan ordered his men to maintain close coordination with local government units and disaster response agencies and utilize all their available equipment in the search-and-rescue operations.
As of yesterday, Brig. Gen. Ludan said that 32 evacuation centers in the region are being occupied by more than 10,000 affected residents. He added that they recorded on fatality and one injured person.