Pantukan landslide update: 14 bodies retrieved; nine still missing

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 April) – Two more bodies were retrieved from the landslide site in Pantukan, Compostela Valley on Saturday, eight days after the tragedy, bringing to 14 the number of bodies recovered, 13 of them identified, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) reported as of 3 p.m. April 30.

Only nine out of the 21 persons reported missing, remain unaccounted for, the report said.

Major Jake Obligado, chief of the Civil Military Operations of the 10th Infantry Division, said teams from the 71st Infantry Battalion, the Pantukan police and Davao Fire and Rescue Services found the two bodies at around 1:30 pm and pulled them out two hours later.

The MDRRMC identified the victim as Cristituto Torrejos, Jr.; 12, from Cuamboagan, Tagum City, whose elder brother, 15-year old John Ric (not Jun Rex as earlier reported), and father Cristituto, Sr., 44, were also killed.

The other victim, male, has yet to be identified, Obligado said.

The  cadaver of Torrejos’ elder brother, John Ric, was the first to be recovered in the morning of April 22, hours after the 3 a.m. landslide that struck Side B of  the gold-rich small scale mining site in Sitio Panganason, Barangay Kingking.

Aside from the Torrejos father and sons and the unidentified male, the 10 other persons killed have been identified as follows: Marjon A. Guilbatan, 19; Brindo Dani, 26; Marvin A. Anglay, 19 and Relito T. Tabag, 21, all of Buan, Asuncion, Davao del Norte; Pio Dennis Calapis, 17 of Cuambongan, Tagum City; Felixberto Ynay, 54, of Sitio Panganason, Barangay Kingking, Pantukan; Vincent Balog, 21; Junel Lapates (age not indicated); Noel Caincoy, 21, all of Bukidnon; and Jericho Escoto, 38 of Baguio City.

Obligado also clarified the MDRRMC’s April 26 update that five bodies were found and only four were recovered because of a heavy downpour as they were supposed to dig up the fifth.

“The retrievers needed to withdraw to safer position,” the report said.

Obligado said Saturday that there was no fifth person. He said when the retrievers returned on April 29 and “tried to recover the body that was left behind, it turned out the supposed to be body was that of a cat. Retrievers mistook the fur of the cat as that of a person’s head.” (MindaNews)