Rescuers ordered to leave as fresh landslides threaten Itogon

MANILA, Philippines – From a maximum of 900 people responding to the massive landslide in Itogon, Benguet, national government is limiting deployment to the site down to 30 rescuers.

Brigadier General Leopoldo Imbang confirmed to Rappler on Friday, September 21 the order from the Department of National Defense's Office of Civil Defense (OCD). 


Imbang, who heads the military contingent of the ongoing search, said the OCD made the decision for the safety of rescuers. (READ: Rescuers of Itogon: No surrender until all bodies found)

The first massive landslide that occurred on Saturday morning, September 15 was triggered by Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut). 

What's the risk? It has been raining for the past two days in Itogon, and the OCD is worried about another fatal landslide.

This was echoed by police deployment leader Chief Superintendent Rolando Nana, who said in a text message that the reason for the reduction of deployment is "Umulan (It rained)."

Nana said 2 backhoes already managed to reach the site of the disaster. He added, however, that they would still need more than 30 rescuers for a swift rescue operation.

The rescuers in the landslide site consist of police, firefighters, and soldiers. Meanwhile, Benguet locals, including families of victims, form the volunteer corps. (READ: In Itogon, sister volunteers to dig beneath the soil to look for brother–

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.