At least nine workers at the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) geothermal power field in Kananga, Leyte, remain buried in a landslide that has so far left five people dead, police said Saturday.

Search for the missing victims resumed 9 a.m. Saturday after being stopped 5:30 p.m. Friday due to heavy rain, Senior Insp. Antonio Angcay, officer-in-charge of the Kananga Police, said by phone.

“Wala pang nakukuha, clearing operation pa lang… pahinto-hinto kasi umuulan,” said Angcay, who is supervising the police’s search and retrieval team at the site in Upper Mahiao, Brgy. Lim-ao.

Other EDC workers, firefighters, and civilian volunteers from Ormoc City are also involved in the search, he said.

In a report sent to the Leyte Provincial Police, Angcay said 10 people in the EDC’s list of workers remain unaccounted for.

The 10 were identified as Marlon Buanghong, Uldarico Taburansa, Salvador Yabana, Jordan Salcedo, Edgardo Cabarsi Sr., Salvador Lascañas, and Fredo Arabis, “Belly” Abella, Danny Mabute, and a certain Yasar.

Angcay, however, noted that one of the 10 could be the still unidentified fatality who was pulled out of the rubble on Friday along with four others.

Four of the five fatalities recovered on Friday were identified as Bonifacio Polinio, Joel Milay, Abelardo Permangil, and Etchield Dela Austria, he said.

Twelve survivors, identified as Edgar Bregildo, Joel Salondro, Romeo Binondo, Felipe Jaba, Jiovanni Perez, Remerito Manawataw, Benjie Lenterio, Romelo Basan, Jobert Auman, Mario Serguida, Roldan Rios, and Alemar Aseo, are still being treated at the OSPA and Clinica Gatchalian hospitals in Ormoc City.

All victims are workers of JE Construction, which was contracted by First Ballfour to build anti-erosion railings, or “ripraps,” along the mountainous road leading to the EDC worksite, Angcay said.

Meanwhile, Angcay revealed that the 10:30 a.m. landslide also damaged the pipeline which EDC was using to draw steam from the earth.

Part of the steam pipeline “exploded” after a “mountain” about 30 meters high collapsed on it and the workers, the police official said in his report.

Two weeks of intermittent rains triggered the landslide, the EDC said in a statement. (John Roson)

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