Environment worker swept away by flashflood in Lanao del Norte town

LINAMON, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews / 31 October) —  An eco aide of the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office here was reported missing at around 8 a.m. Saturday in sitio Manadi, Barangay Purakan, his dead body found at 7 a.m. Sunday.

Linamon Mayor Randy Macapil told MindaNews  that Rogelio Pantilgan, 35, a resident of barangay Purakan  set out to go fishing with his 13-year old  brother  Jenrel, but was swept away as they were about to cross the river.  Jenrel survived.

Rubylen Tampon touches the blanket-wrapped body of her partner, Rogelio Pantilgan, who was swept away by a flashflood on Saturday morning in Linamon, Lanao del Norte and found downstream on Sunday morning. MindaNwes photo by RICHEL V. UMEL

Jenrel said that at around 6 a.m. Saturday, as they were about to cross the river, his brother, who was ahead of him, fell into the water. He said he nearly fell into the water, too. He recalled running after his brother but could not find him anymore so he returned home to report what happened.

Macapil said that as of 3 p.m. on Saturday, rescue and retrieval efforts by the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, ALERT rescue team and the Philippine Coast Guard of Iligan-Laao del Norte Station yielded negative results.

Felicidad Tuzon, Municipal Environment Resources Officer said Pantilgan was a contractual employee of Manadi Eco Center for more than one year.

Mario Villaraza , a member of the 5th Infantry Battalion – Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit of  Purakan Patrol Base said that at around 6 a.m. on Sunday, he and two other civilians checked downstream for Pantilgan and found his battery-operated fishing gear. Farther downstream, he saw the floating body of Pantilgan.

He called on his companions to help him retrieve Pantilgan’s body which they brought back to the barangay after a two-hour hike.

Villaraza said Pantilagan had head injuries.

The local health officer, Dra.Gemma Deaño,  with the police authorities examined the cadaver.

Rubylen Tampon,  Pantilgan’s partner told MindaNews that when she woke up at 5:30 a.m, her partner had left.  She said he informed her on Friday night about his schedule the next day and hugged and kissed her.

Rubylen and Pantilgan have a baby girl.

The mayor said the local government will shoulder the funeral expenses and the financial assistance of 10,000 for  Pantilgan’s partner and baby.

Macapil  said  he will issue a memorandum to all barangay captains to advise residents in interior villages to stay away from riverbanks especially during  heavy rains that may trigger flashfloods.  (Richel V. Umel / MindaNews)