The Phil Army during their search and rescue operations in Kananga landslide. Photo courtesy of 8ID
The Phil Army during their search and rescue operations in Kananga landslide. Photo courtesy of 8ID

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan city-The 19th Infantry Battalion of 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army rescued 17 workers and retrieved six dead bodies during a landslide that happened last March 1, 2013 at Energy Development Corporation (EDC) Complex, Sitio Upper Mahi-ao, Brgy Lim-ao, Kananga Leyte.

The rescue and recovery operation was conducted by the 19IB immediately after the landslide occurred until March 4, said 8ID spokesman Capt. Gene Orense.

According to Lt Col Joel Alejandro S Nacnac, Commanding Officer of 19IB, the rescuers are very optimistic that there are still survivors, even on the fourth day of retrieval operations in the area.

“We will continue to secure the area and aid other rescuers in the retrieval operations. We hope that there are workers still left alive from this unfortunate incident,” Nacnac said.

Lt. Col. Nacnac also revealed that it was his men participating earlier in a security drill with the workers of EDC who first responded to the incident around 9:50 a.m. on Friday, March 1.

“A platoon of soldiers led by Lt. Amin Macalintangue and his men heard an extremely loud sound prompting them to quickly scour the area which is at the vicinity of PAD 403 of the Energy Development Corporation in Upper Mahi-ao, Brgy. Lim-ao, Kananga, Leyte,” Nacnac added.

“I highly commend the troops of 19th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro S Nacnac for your invaluable efforts in saving 17 workers of First Balfour Corporation from a landslide at EDC Complex, Kananga, Leyte. Your dauntless efforts saved the lives of these workers,” MGen Gerardo T Layug, Commander of 8ID said.

“Rest assured that the 8ID troops will continuously perform Search and Rescue Operations that may be caused by natural or man-made disasters in the region,” added Layug.

MGen Layug personally extended his utmost gratitude to the members of 19IB who risked their lives in saving others during his visit yesterday at the Headquarters of 19IB in Kananga, Leyte.

As of this date, 19IB accounted 17 survivors from the incident. Ten of which were immediately brought to the hospital the same day when the incident occurred. On the other hand, death toll is now raised to six leaving at least nine more that are still missing.(PR)