Scores feared dead in Mt. Province landslide

BAGUIO CITY — A still undetermined number of persons are feared to have perished when a landslide hit the building of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Mt. Province (DPWH-MP) in Natonin town on Tuesday afternoon.

Engr. Jonel Emengga, chief of the DPWH- District 2 Planning and Design Division, in a telephone interview said that according to eye witness information, the mountain across the DPWH building eroded around 4 p.m. on Tuesday (October 30), engulfing the two-storey concrete structure and washed away everything around it.

The office is located in Sitio Sakrang, Barangay Banawel in Natonin, Mountain Province. It is about two kilometers away from the town proper.

He further said that the building was supposed to be empty with only the two guards on duty. However, it was reported that the guards allowed some residents to seek refuge at the building as Typhoon “Rosita” (Yutu) was battering the province.

“We don’t know yet how many people were actually at the site because we cannot contact the two guards on duty,” Emengga said.

Initial report has it that at least three people initially died while about 20 others are missing but this is still being verified, Emengga said.

“The building is beside a residential area and the strong rain and wind could have prompted residents to seek refuge at the (concrete) office,” Emengga said in Ilocano.

Describing the structure and the location, the engineer said the building has more or less 200 square meters in floor area with two stories already finished. At the back and beside it are buildings, which are also being constructed.

Fronting the building is a two-lane concrete highway located some 8 meters from the base of the building.

“The landslide brought down a big volume of mud leaving no traces of the DPWH compound,” Emengga added.

He said they are having difficulty in reaching the place due to several other major landslides, with debris blocking their path.