DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 January) – We were prepared to ride the habal-habal once again on Saturday. This time, Toto Lozano will go with me and Ruby will shoot for mining-related issues in Pantukan.
Bibo was already waiting for us near the town hall when we arrived. It was 9:30 a.m.
For an out-of-town coverage like this one, it is important to maintain one driver, especially so because this is not an easy drive to the site. It is important to entrust your safety to someone experienced. Habal-habal drivers also serve as your local guide as almost everyone in the village knows them, and vice versa. Read More »
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/14 January) — On our second day of coverage of the landslide in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, we decided to take the Tibagon route because it was still 9:30a.m. Besides, the weather looked fine that Friday, January 6, 2012.
The chopper was on standby in case there would be survivors in the landslide. Or it could be used to transport the cadavers if the weather permitted. But I really had doubts because based on our experience last year in Sitio Panganason, the nearest landing zone was at least three kilometers away.
We asked around if the chopper would really insert additional rescue volunteers or additional soldiers to secure the area, but no one could answer us. Everyone was busy. Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was coming, and everyone was busy preparing reports or presentations. So we decided to take Tibagon Route so that we don’t have to hike back and forth from the site to Sitio Haguimit. Besides, muscle pain in our legs would slow us down. Read More »
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 January) – Ruby and I were supposed to finish editing the photos we took on the aftermath of Tropical Storm Sendong Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan cities when I heard on radio that another tragedy occurred in Pantukan, Compostela Valley, a gold rush site. I haven’t unloaded some of the things in my backpack after the trip to the disaster-stricken cities, nor drained the water in my bladder pack. The headlamp and some camera accessories were still inside the bag too.
The first report said six persons were already confirmed dead while some were reported missing. A few minutes later, the military reported that 16 bodies had been pulled out from the mud and rubble.
I asked Carol if we could go with Gigi. She said, go ahead.
Although I had no idea where exactly the landslide site is, I knew it would be a long uphill ride because I heard about the gold rush sites, sitios Diat 1 and Diat 2, last year when we covered the landslide in Sitio Panganason in neighboring barangay Kingking. Sitios Diat 1 and 2 are in Napnapan. Read More »
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/10 January) – Convinced that chances of survival six days after the tragedy are slim, the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) of Pantukan in Compostela Valley has shifted work from rescue to retrieval operations in the landslide site that occurred at Sitio Diat 1 in Barangay Napnapan that left 36 persons killed and 36 others missing.
The number of missing people dropped from 42 on Monday to 36 today as four of those in the list were later traced to be alive who had gone home before the incident happened, while two other casualties were already identified by their relatives. Read More »
PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/9 January) – Everything seems to be normal in the gold rush communities near the landslide site in Sitio Diat 1 in Barangay Napnapan as ball mill plants continue to operate and miners continue to haul ores out of the tunnel.
Interviewed just 200 meters away from Ground Zero, Jun Alcantara, owner of a small-scale mine processing plant, said they are already used to landslides, adding that it’s “normal” for them. Read More »
SITIO DIAT, Napnapan, Pantukan (MindaNews/06 January) – Miner Bernabe Tolentino could not just watch rescuers dig through the debris. Using a spade, he dug and dug in search of the body of eight-year old Cho-cho, the fourth daughter he lost to Thursday’s landslide.
A day earlier, the bodies of his three other daughters – Ivy, 14; Sheena Mae, 12; and Bea, 6 – were retrieved from the spot Tolentino was now digging. Read More »
PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/03 May) — In some towns of Mindanao, the sight of motorcycles is a sure sign that some of its remote areas are barely inaccessible by four-wheeled vehicles.
Although there are villages that can be reached using four-wheel drive vehicles, many would still prefer to ride the more reliable “habal-habal,” a customized single motorcycle that can carry several passengers along with their bulky cargoes. Read More »
PANTUKAN, Compostela Valley (MindaNews/25 April) – For many miners, dying in a disaster like a landslide is better than dying from hunger even if dozens of their colleagues had been buried alive in different gold mining sites.
Even the miners at the landslide area in Barangay Kingking here admitted that several tunnels had collapsed in the past but most of them went unreported. Read More »