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MDM clarifies confusion on landslide missing persons data

THE MANAGEMENT of the Dead and Missing (MDM) Unit shed light on the confusion that arose from the seemingly inconsistent missing persons data after the deadly Masara landslide in Maco, Davao de Oro earlier this month.

Based on data released by the LGU, the number of retrieved bodies was at 92 with 36 still missing as of 7 p.m. on Feb. 15. However, 24 hours later, the recovered bodies rose to 96, while the missing persons decreased to 18.

MDM Unit spokesperson Lea Añora clarified that the changes in the number of missing persons, which does not seem to fit with the number of retrieved bodies, can be attributed to the post-mortem examination of the National Bureau of Investigation Disaster Victim Identification (NBI DVI).

“After the post-mortem examination, with the help also of the family who is searching for their family members, right after the victim will be identified, it will be immediately crossed out from the missing list,” Añora said during the media briefing on Feb. 17.

Maong nagbaba siya, kay paspas pud ang pag conduct sa atong NBI-DVI team, naa pud tay mga pamilya nga naga standby didto sa atong mga funeral homes, ready to identify their family members,” she added.

Añora said they conduct “tagging” from ground zero to the collection area to initially identify the cadaver. However, she said the data will be validated by the NBI-DVI and the family members who personally confirm the identity of the recovered body.

The MDM also asked family members to point out recognizable features of the missing person. 

The official reiterated that the basis for the official number of missing is the blotter report of the family member.

Meanwhile, she added at least 14 bodies were temporarily buried at Maco Public Cemetery pending the confirmation and recovery by their family members. 

An additional four are still unidentified as the other two endorsed last Feb. 16 were all body parts, while the two from Feb 17, only involved a body part and the lower extremity. Unclaimed cadavers after 72 hours from recovery will undergo DNA sampling. 

The MDM Unit continues to call on residents with family members to cooperate with authorities for appropriate consolidation and verification. 

As of 7 p.m. on Feb. 17, the retrieved bodies and parts rose to 98 while missing individuals are down to nine. The identity of one out of the nine missing is still under verification. 

Of the missing individuals, four were from the community, four were from Maria-Socio General Services Inc. (manpower service contracted by Apex Mining), and one was from Apex Mining.



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