By Priam Nepomuceno

RESCUE OPS. Soldiers from the Eastern Mindanao Command rescue landslide victims in the Davao de Oro town of Maco on Wednesday (Feb. 7, 2024). Maco town earlier reported that as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, six bodies were recovered while 31 injured individuals were rescued. (Photo from Eastmincom)

MANILA – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is ready to augment and support local government units (LGUs) in their ongoing rescue operations following a landslide that hit Davao de Oro, trapping workers of a mining firm last Feb. 6.

OCD administrator Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said the agency is continuously monitoring the incident at Barangay Masara, Maco town in Davao De Oro.

“Our regional counterpart in Davao Region is coordinating with concerned local disaster risk reduction and management offices on the response operations in Maco as well as the entire region. We, at the national level, are always ready to extend additional support to the affected areas,” Nepomuceno said.

Maco town earlier reported that as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, six bodies were recovered while 31 injured individuals were rescued.

Some 46 people are reportedly missing, the OCD said, citing information from the ground.

Uniformed services and local DRRMOs from different municipalities and nearby cities deployed their rescue teams following the landslide. But rescue efforts were suspended shortly after midnight Wednesday and resumed in the morning.

Residents from neighboring areas were also forced to evacuate to ensure their safety and are now temporarily sheltered at nearby schools and churches.

At least 300 families or 2,000 people were affected by the landslide.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. flew to Davao City Wednesday and held a situation briefing with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Nepomuceno, and OCD deputy administrator for operations Assistant Secretary Hernando Caraig Jr., along with local officials from Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, and Davao City.

Among the topics discussed include the formulation of an integrated flood control master plan for the Davao River in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Marcos ordered Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to monitor the study with JICA and coordinate with government agencies and LGUs.

As of posting, around PHP190 million worth of assistance has been provided to the affected families. (PNA)