Mother grieves over death of ‘hardworking’ son in landslide
ORMOC CITY- Teresita de la Austria said that she was still in a daze when she recovered the body of her son, Etchield, not only dead but also headless.
The 58-year old grieving mother was able to identify her son through the underwear she brought for him at the morgue of the Kananga Hospital, which is 23 kms away from this city.
Etchield, 31, was one of the five workers of the EDC (Energy Development Corp.) who were buried alive in a landslide incident coupled with the bursting of a steam pipe reason why the victims suffered some burns when they were retrieved from the mounds of debris.
The steam pipe was hit by the falling debris from the mountain reason why it ruptured.
“I was in total shock when I saw the body of my son without his head. I could not believe that this happen to him,” Teresita said, sobbing.
She saw her son’s lifeless body at around 4 p.m. or seven hours after the incident took place. Until now, the head of her son has yet to be recovered.
Etchield is the second eldest of her nine children and has been working as a mason at the EDC for more than 10 years now.
She narrated that the body of her son was already burned but was identified by her through the underwear he was wearing.
“It was colored white which I just bought recently for him. And besides he was my son and I can recognize him,” the grieving mother said.
He described her son to be hardworking who tended some chicken and pigs to help augment his income and that of his family.
Aside from de la Austria, others killed in the incident at the Upper Mahiao, Barangay Lim-ao, Kananga last Friday at around 10a.m., were identified as Bonifacio Polinio; Cabarsi, Edgardo Sr.; Belly Abella and Joel Milay.
All the dead bodies were brought at the Saint Peter Funeral Homes, Ormoc.
Nine others are still missing with the EDC rescue team together with the help of the rescue group of the city government of Ormoc with the assistance of the local police of Kananga and the Philippine Army still conducting their retrieval operations at the site of the incident which is within the EDC complex.
During the incident, 45 workers were in the area. The workers were hired by the J.E Arrazada Construction and Supply, which is based this city.
The survivors were brought to the EDC Clinic and at the Clinic Gatchalian Hospital in Ormoc.
The management of the Clinic Gatchalian Hospital refused the request of the Inquirer to interview any of the six survivors confined at said hospital.
Dave Devilles, information officer of the EDC, said that the company will shoulder all the expenses of the victims as well as those who survived the incident.
“The EDC offers burial, hospitalization and financial assistance to the victims and survivors,” he said, adding that the company has already contacted the family members of the victims and the survivors.
He also admitted that during the landslide, one of the steam pipes indeed burst as it was hit by the falling debris. Devilles also said that the affected steam pipe was already “contained” thus the operations of the EDC was not affected.
Mayor Elmer Codilla said that he was saddened with the tragic incident as most of the victims and the survivors were from his town of Kananga.
“Nobody wanted this to happen. It was a natural calamity,” he said.
The mayor said that Lim-ao is one of the villages of his town identified as landslide prone area.
Ironically, the workers at the time of the incident were working on a landslide mitigating project, the mayor said.
The mounds of debris that fell to the victims reached to 30 meters high, as estimated by the Kananga police.
Kananga, just like the rest in Eastern Visayas, has been experiencing continuous heavy rains for the past two weeks reason for the landslide. And last Thursday, a minor quake was felt in the area. (JOEY A. GABIETA With reports from Roel Amazona, Resty Cayubit & Kananga MENRO)
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