2006 Guinsaugon landslide

Published February 17, 2021, 2:33 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Fifteen years ago on Feb. 17, when a disastrous landslide triggered by heavy rains buried an entire village in the town of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte.

(PIXABAY / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

A total of 1,126 people perished from the 2006 rockslide-debris avalanche.

Included in the list of fatalities were more than 240 school children, and their school teachers. When the landslide struck Barangay Guinsaugon at around 10 a.m. on Feb. 17, 2006,  classes were ongoing.  

Around 80 women were also believed to be trapped inside the barangay hall as they celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Guinsaugon Women’s Health Association.

The more than two weeks of continuous heavy rains triggered the  landslide, which originated within the damage zone of the Philippine Fault.

After more than 30 minutes, the rockslide-debris avalanche was eventually followed by a 2.6-magnitude earthquake. 

In January last year, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado filed a bill declaring February 17 of every year as the “Guinsaugon Day” in memory of the victims of the 2006 landslide. 

Under House Bill No. 5938, the Visayan lawmaker sought to declare February 17 as a special non-working holiday in the whole province of Southern Leyte, to be known as “Guinsaugon Day.”

Mercado has been pushing for the passage of the bill since 2017.

 
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