Stranded geothermal plant workers reach safety

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Nov) – Stranded workers of the Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant in Kidapawan City trekked on foot down the mountains to reach safety downtown on Friday.

Lt. Col. Rey Alvarado, commander of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, said the workers started walking following efforts to clear the road to the geothermal plant located some 23 kilometers east of the poblacion area.

He said all the workers were safe after trekking for several hours.

Alvarado said some CAFGU personnel were deployed to help secure the 106-megawatt plant.

Last Thursday, the magnitude 6.5 earthquake caused landslides in sections of the road leading to the power plant in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City.

Energy Development Corporation (EDC), who owns and operates the plant, said all of their employees are safe and accounted for.

“We confirm that all our employees have been accounted for and are safe after another strong earthquake struck Kidapawan,” EDC Magpet facility head Romy Kee, said.

Kee said two of their power plants—the M1 and M2—sustained some damages and “were put on turning gear operation only.”

He also assured that 1,400 residents from the Ubo-Manobo community living outside the perimeter fence of the geothermal plant have been relocated to the Sayaban gym in Barangay Ilomavis for their safety.

Alvarado said to their knowledge all the Lumads living on the slopes of Mount Apo near the geothermal plant have come down from the mountains for fear of landslides and falling rocks.

“We are coping with the emergency here despite the shortages of tents and food,” Alvarado, whose battalion oversees rescue operations in the quake-affected areas, said. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)