Search for missing tourist still on-A A +A
Thursday, August 22, 2013
SEARCH operations for three missing persons in the Cordillera region resumed Thursday morning.
Divers from the Philippine Coast Guard failed to find the missing tourist inside Sumaguing Caves in Sagada, Mt. Province.
Since Tuesday morning until Thursday noon, rescuers find no trace of the 49-year-old Eufrocinia "Irene" Manaois of Dagupan, Pangasinan.
Manaois was swept by floods inside the cave after underground water swelled during the height of monsoon rains Sunday.
Sagada Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Robert Pangod said they resumed search operations at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Pangod said rescuers are having a hard time penetrating the cave as underground water level has risen while local rescuers do not have the technical expertise to dive under the cave’s natural pool located some 154 meters below the ground.
He said the missing tourist might have fallen into a natural pool at the bottom of the cave, which is beyond 15 meters deep especially during the rainy season.
Office of Civil Defense – Cordillera reported all rescued tourists including 13 Japanese tourists, two teachers from Pampanga, six tourists from Metro Manila and nine local guides are now safe.
Sagada Mayor Eduardo Latawan Sr. requested the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard to provide professional divers to assist in the search.
Meanwhile, in Tubo, Abra, the local DRRMC officers continued search operations Thursday morning for the missing fisherman Rosalino Calantay, 30, who was swept away by floods at Damangil River in Barangay Amtuagan Sunday.
In Bontoc, Mt. Province, the town's local DRRMC reported 20-year-old Monching Bakidan, who was swept by strong currents of the Chico River Sunday, was also missing. Responders are already scouring the Chico River as far as Tabuk City in Kalinga to find the missing fisherman.
OCD OIC Director Andrew Alex Uy said only three roads in Benguet are still closed to traffic while only one road in Mt. Province remains impassable.
These are Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road; Shilan-Beckel Road; Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya Road in close-open situation while only half-lane of the Poyopoy section of Marcos Highway is passable as of the moment. Mt. Province-Cagayan via Tabuk- Enrile Rd. remained closed.
Four local governments in the Cordillera region have placed their areas under state of calamity.
Mt. Province Governor Leonard Mayaen announced Tuesday that the Provincial Board passed a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity due to devastation brought about by the rains.
Mayaen said they need to access funds for acquisition of medicines for their provincial hospital and immediately address landslides and floods, which affected parts of the province in the past two weeks due to the past typhoons and monsoon rains.
Now that rains have stopped, he said they will mobilize more teams for road clearing operations and assessment of damage.
Ifugao towns of Tinoc and Asipulo and barangay Nayon in Lamut town have also declared their areas under the State of Calamity since Monday to access the needed Calamity funds for road clearing operations; conduct disaster response operations; and come up with mitigating measures against the effects of the monsoon rains.
Ifugao Governor Dennis Habawel said the Provincial Board is still contemplating the declaration of a province-wide State of Calamity as local chief executives are still monitoring devastation brought about by the rains.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 23, 2013.