A LANDSLIDE after some long-awaited rain buried two brothers in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City yesterday afternoon.
Their parents were gathering limestone and apparently did not notice when Ian Vanlor Lumapas Jr., 11, and his brother Jacob, 3, wandered outside their home.
Neighbors recalled that Mitos Basak and her partner Ian Vanlor Lumapas Sr. began to haul limestone from outside their house in Sitio Immaculada sometime in 2010, after Ian Sr. lost his job in a casino.
They sold limestone for P35 a sack, in order to feed their seven children, ages 12 years to nine months old.
“Ako na man na silang gibadlong, pero wa man sila’y laing trabaho (I told them to stop what they were doing, but they haD no jobs),” said Nita Basak, Mitos’s mother.
Jacob would have turned four on Friday.
“Wa ko kasabot sa akong gibati ron (I don’t understand how I feel),” said Nita.
Councilor Dave Tumulak, presiding officer of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC), said that City Hall will give the family P10,000 cash, in addition to P8,000 for the children’s caskets and funeral services.
Tumulak said that the City will also pay for the hospital bill of the boys’ mother, Mitos, who suffered injuries.
In an interview yesterday, Tumulak reminded the public, especially those living near slopes, to be vigilant against landslides.
“Ang nahitabo man gud diha sa Lahug ni-crack na ang yuta tungod sa kainit but niulan man Monday night and yesterday morning so ang rainwater nisud didto sa cracks. So di gyud mag-kompanysa (The land in Lahug has cracked because of the heat. But it rained last Monday night and yesterday morning, and the water got into the cracks. We need to be watchful),” he said.
He said that the CCDRRMC cordoned off the area yesterday, since they saw others cracks above the area where the accident happened.
Around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, the family’s main source of livelihood turned into a site of tragedy.
A stockpile of limestone collapsed, burying half of Mitos’s body and her sons Jacob and Ian Vanlor Jr. Boulders damaged a wall of their house. Ian Sr. and the other children were spared.
Rex Noel, one of the four neighbors who tried to rescue the brothers, said that when they found the brothers, Ian Jr. was covering Jacob with his body.
The realtor believes Ian Jr. tried to save his younger brother.
“What he did was heroic,” he said.
Noel recalled it started to rain in the area past 4 a.m. and didn’t stop until about an hour later.
Before the accident, neighbors saw Mitos and Ian Sr. digging for limestone. They did not know Jacob and Ian Jr. were also outside the house, just behind them.
Cirila Toquero said she and her live-in partner, Ernie Malalis, were talking when they heard a loud noise coming from the back of the Lumapas’s house.
They first saw Mitos half-buried in the debris.
Ernie and other men dug her out of the soil after five minutes. Mitos suffered injuries in different parts of her body, while Ian Sr. suffered a cut on the right portion of his face.
Neighbors started to gather outside the Lumapas’s house.
Mitos and Ian Sr. then started looking for Jacob and Ian Jr. The couple thought their sons were inside the house before the landslide happened.
Noel said he and other neighbors tried to find the boys, thinking they were playing with other children in the neighborhood.
Twenty minutes later, they returned and told the couple they could not find the boys.
Instinctively, Noel said, he and three other men, Carmelito Siclot, Nelson Wasawas and Nelson Amparo, started to dig the limestone.
After they dug about two feet deep, they found the bodies of the boys.
Noel said that he and American national George Demetz, 68, tried to revive Ian Jr., while a female neighbor tried to restore Jacob’s breathing by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Three neighbors who have motorcycles rushed Mitos and her two boys to different hospitals.
Jacob and Mitos were rushed to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, where Jacob was declared dead on arrival, said Councilor Tumulak in radio dyAB interview.
Ian Jr. was brought to a private hospital, where he also was declared dead.
Shaan Bryan, 12, was with Nita in Barrio Luz when he learned about the incident through their neighbor who called Nita through cellphone. They immediately went to Immaculada.
“But-an to sila (They were good children),” said Shaan Bryan of his brothers.