(ITOGON, BENGUET) – Two more bodies have been recovered as of press time by Philex Mining rescuers from beneath the soil and debris of the landslide born from Typhoon “Ompong” (international name: Mangkhut) that swept through Northern Luzon last September 15.

This brings to approximately 62 the number of victims recovered so far from Level 070 of Barangay Ucab, Itogon town, Benguet Province.

The Philex rescue team has been working long hours each day in ensuring the speedy recovery of landslide victims believed to be small-scale miners or their relatives.

“Our rescuers are first to arrive at Ground Zero at daybreak and last to leave before or at nightfall,” according to Eduardo Aratas, Legal Division Head at Philex Padcal mine.

“They get to work even before the other rescue teams arrive,” Aratas said.

Earlier, Philex Mining constructed a pioneer access road from the Itogon Provincial Highway to Ground Zero of the incident for the easy and speedy movement of people and equipment involved in the rescue effort.

Asked as to how long the whole rescue operation will take, Aratas said that it depends.

“The estimate here is that it would take around two weeks for the digging to be completed. But the Philex team will continue rescue efforts for as long as it takes.”

The Philex Rescue Team has had a long history of volunteer search-and-rescue and search-and-recovery operations, from the Baguio earthquake in 1990 to the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. 30

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