K9, ‘mambunongs’ deployed to find missing teens

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- In a bid to fast track the search of two missing teens, the local government unit (LGU) has sought the aid of a K9 unit and “mambunong” to perform rituals to find the victims washed out last week during the height of Habagat.

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda on Tuesday, August 20, said it has been seven days since the two individuals namely Harvey Rufino and Rommel Tadena, residents of Barangay Wangal from the town, were reported missing.

At least two K9 with their handlers and assistant were present onsite to help in the search efforts.

Yoshio Labi, La Trinidad Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer, said several individuals are working in the search operations including the LGU of La Trinidad, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, volunteers of Barangay Wangal.

On Tuesday, 88 volunteers were working onsite, divided into two teams with one focusing on the search and retrieval and the other handling the K9.

The mayor added that for the immediate search and retrieval operation, the LGU has asked the assistance of mambunong or Igorot elders to perform indigenous rituals in helping locate the missing persons.

Earlier reports reveal the two teenagers were riding on a motorcycle while crossing the bridge in Gayasi River on the evening of August 13.

The strong water current already engulfed the bridge during the height of the southwest monsoon last week.

Days after the two went missing, the victims’ jacket and helmet were found followed by a motor oil and backpack.

The mayor advised all donations for the search to be directly forwarded to Barangay Wangal.

In an earlier public service announcement, officials from Wangal said the search and rescue teams and volunteers are in need of food and other items to be used such as ropes, water hoses, swimming gears and oxygen tanks.


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