More help for Pantukan Victims

As President Noynoy Aquino extends his condolences to the families of victims in the massive landslide in Barangay King-king, Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province, joint efforts both from the national and local government and stakeholders became evident.

In a press conference on Monday, April 25, 2011, National Defense Secretary Voltaire T Gazmin , Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje, ComVal Province Governor Arturo Uy, Pantukan Mayor Celso Sarenas, Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command Lt Gen Artur Tabaquero, 10th Infantry Division Commander MGen Jorge Segovia and 1001st Brigade Commander Col Roberto Domines converge to talk about the recent updates in the retrieval operations and the forced evacuation.

According to Sec. Paje, they were sent by the president to personally verify the situation in the area.

“The president wants to know on how to comprehensively handle the situation”, Paje added. He made sure that the residents will be relocated to ensure their safety especially after the discovery of a 70-meter fissure that could possibly result to another tragedy if rainfalls continue.

Governor Arturo Uy elucidates that he will impose no habitation in the area for the other portion of the mountain may collapse anytime.

“We will continue in searching for the other missing persons. We will not stop unless we find all the victims who might have been buried in mud”, Mayor Celso Sarenas said.

Lt Gen Tabaquero said that they will continue their efforts in assisting the agencies to continue the search and retrieval operations. “Until you need our help, we will help”, he assured.

Sec. Gazmin was pleased with the cooperation among agencies both from the national and local government. “All agencies were involved in helping together for this mission and not just the concerned agencies”, he added.

Locals flooded the area as they also want to extend help in the search and retrieval operations. Although this would hasten the operation, the local government forcibly wants them to evacuate immediately for their own safety.
Meanwhile, MGen Jorge Segovia said that insurgency has been a detriment for the small-scale miners forcing them to rely in mining despite danger just to alleviate their living. He also added that insurgency is formed in mining thru extortion which has been affecting the miners.

“There are NPA units in Pantukan of which three barangays were affected already by them”, Segovia said who was also present in the conference. He added that they will determine this to properly address the matter.

“We will strengthen our Peace and Development Outreach Program to this area as part of our program in winning peace”, he ended.

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