3 miners dead, 6 others trapped in S. Cotabato

Published by rudy Date posted on April 4, 2011

General Santos City —Three small-scale miners were confirmed dead while six others remain trapped in several mine tunnels that collapsed on Saturday at the height of heavy rains at a mountain village in Tampakan town in South Cotabato.

Nelida Pereira, action officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of South Cotabato, said Sunday the three victims were recovered late Saturday afternoon from the collapsed mine tunnels in Sitio Bong Anten, Barangay Pulabato in Tampakan.

Two of the fatalities were identified by village officials as Lamlan Bayuri and Remy Malayon. The third victim was still unidentified as of Sunday morning.

Pereira confirmed that six more miners were still trapped in the collapsed mine tunnels, which was triggered by several major landslides after more than two days of continuous heavy rains.

“Several rescue teams are in the area right now and are trying to save the trapped miners,” she told reporters.

An initial report from Tamapakan local government noted that the landslides struck near the mine tunnels early Saturday.

Tampakan Vice Mayor Relly Leysa said they received a report at around 1:30 pm Saturday that four miners were initially trapped in the collapsed mine tunnels in the area.

Another miner, who was able to escape from the fallen tunnels, sustained injuries and was rushed to the South Cotabato provincial hospital in Koronadal City.

Leysa said the victims were allegedly involved in illegal “banlas” or sluice mining, a method which employs the pouring of large amounts of water on a mountain’s surface to extract the rocks containing the gold ore.

Banlas mining has reportedly become rampant in the mountains of Tampakan in the past two years.

Leysa said the miners trapped in the landslide were reported to be doing shaft sinking or digging downward.

He said the illegal mining area is within the mines development site of Sagittarius Mines Inc., which is planning to extract huge copper and gold deposits in the area.

Rex Magbanua, barangay chair of Danlag in Tampakan, said the situation in the area remained critical due to the possible occurrence of more landslides. PNA

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