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UPDATED | Century mark 

  • Masara landslide death toll continues to climb with 18 still missing


OPERATIONS at ground zero of the Masara, Maco landslide shifted to search and retrieval on Feb. 14  as the death toll neared the century mark.

As of 7 p.m. on Feb. 16, the number of bodies (including body parts) recovered rose to 96. Meanwhile, the Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM) recorded 18 missing individuals based on the blotter filed by their family members.

Maco Mayor Arthur Rimando issued Executive No. 15 on Feb. 14 declaring the shift from search and rescue to search and retrieval operations, approving the recommendation of the incident management team.

Since the order, an additional 18 bodies were retrieved and added to 67 recorded on Feb. 13 before the operations temporarily halted at 2 p.m. on the same day due to ground movements. The SR operations resumed on Feb. 14.

During a media briefing on Feb. 15, Engr. Ariel Capoy, Maco Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office incident commander, said they could not ascertain the timeline of the operations.

“Our goal is kung pwede lang makuha natin lahat [dead bodies],” Capoy said.

At present, the incident command post deployed 10 teams in shifts, six excavators, and nine dump trucks to aid in the operations.

MDM spokesperson Lea Añora reported they conducted 48 ante-mortem data collection, 73 processed under post-mortem, and 39 death certificates released as of Feb. 14.

Fourteen unidentified bodies were temporarily buried at Maco Public Cemetery pending the confirmation and recovery by their family members.

“Sadly those 14 na unidentified bodies ang inuna natin doon kasi we have to follow health protocols,” she added.

Some 31 retrieved bodies are still under post-mortem examination by the National Bureau of Investigation Disaster Victim Identification (NBI DVI).

Each body has an assigned case number and family members can seek assistance from the MDM unit post in Elizalde, Maco to claim their deceased loved one.



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