Four people buried in Mati City landslide; death toll due to heavy rains now at 32

Four people were buried in a landslide while fishing in a river in Mati City in Davao Oriental, police said on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Police Lt. Col. Ernesto Gregore, chief of police of Mati City, said the four victims, including two teenagers, went down to the river in Barangay Don Salvador to go on fishing at around 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

photo: Police Regional Office 11

"The landslide occurred a few minutes later and they were buried," said Gregore.

He identified the victims as Cristituto Casaligan, Sr., 62, purok chairman of Purok Sanghay of Barangay Don Salvador; John Gel Casaligan, 15; Roberto Ampo, 52; and, Jethro Quilat, 14.

photo: Police Regional Office 11

Gregore said policemen and local rescuers were immediately sent to the area to conduct search and rescue operations.

Police Corporal Franciz Regidor, of the Mati City police, said the local rescue teams retrieved the cadaver of the purok chairman.

He said that the search and retrieval were stopped after the recovery of Casaligan's cadaver due to risks to the rescuers as advised by local officials.

photo: Police Regional Office 11

"We are continuing the operation now (Dec. 29) to account for the three more missing victims," Regidor told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.

The incident in Mati City on Wednesday is not yet reflected on the data of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of Thursday morning.

Based on the NDRRMC latest data, a total of seven people were confirmed dead while three others were confirmed to be missing.

It said 25 other deaths and 21 cases of missing people due to the bad weather condition in six regions-- Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula Region, Davao region, Northern Mindanao Region and Caraga--are yet to be validated.

Most of the reported deaths are in Northern Mindanao with 18 while Bicol Region and Eastern Visayas have the most number of missing people with 11 each.