14 residents in Makilala hinterlands rescued by helicopter

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 03 November) – Fourteen residents trapped in a hinterland barangay in Makilala due to a landslide triggered by the Magnitude 6.5 earthquake on October 31, were rescued by a helicopter of the Philippine Air Force on Sunday.

Acting Vice-Governor Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva joined rescuers in airlifting the residents trapped in landslide-hit Sitio Kapatagan in Barangay Luayon.

The area is close to the three fault lines where two residents died during the Magnitude 6.6 quake on October 29.

“All accounted, the rescued individuals hiked for three hours to reach the landing zone,” Villanueva said.

Philippine AIr Force helicopter lands to rescue residents trapped in the hinterlands of Makilala, North Cotbato on Sunday, 3 November 2019. Photo courtesy of Acting Vice-Governor Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva

The rescue operations targeted 21 persons but it was learned that seven of them opted to take the longer and more dangerous route with their motorcycles and farm animals.

MindaNews checked with Makilala municipal administrator Sherly Orbita but as of 3 p.m. Orbita said they were still waiting for a copy of the list rescued persons. She said the helicopter made a second round.

Orbita could not also say if elderly persons and children were among those rescued.

On Friday noon, an evacuee from Sitio Kapatagan in Barangay Luayon here appealed to authorities to rescue the elderly and small children who were left behind in their village because of the road condition.

Girlie Angan, who walked five kilometers along with their neighbors to seek safer grounds at the Malasila Elementary School, said the best way to get the elderly out is through a helicopter since the road is hardly passable.

A view of the landslide from a Philippine Air Force helicopter. Photo courtesy of Acting Vice-Governor Shirlyn Macasarte-Villanueva

But Angan could not say how many were left behind. A neighbor said “sobra 30” (over 30) but his could not be verified. Angan said there were around 200 families in the sitio and only a few had evacuated.

“Kailangan gyud to sila ug rescue kay makonsyensya mi nga nagbakwit mi, sila wala” (They really need to be rescued because our conscience is bothering us that we evacuated but they didn’t).

The rescued, according to Villanueva, hiked three hours to get to the landing site.

The elderly and children could not have hiked that far. (Ferdinandh Cabrera with a report by Carolyn O. Arguillas /MindaNews)