Fourteen villagers trapped in the isolated village of Luayon following the magnitude 6.6 earthquake on October 29 have been rescued and safely airlifted from the site to the town proper here.
North Cotabato Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte, acting vice governor, led the rescue operation Sunday morning in the landslide-hit village using two Philippine Air Force helicopters.
Macasarte said the mission was to rescue 21 trapped villagers who were unable to evacuate due to landslides.
However, seven of them, mostly males, opted to walk their way out of the village using various trails en route to Barangay Malasila, a village near the town center.
Those who opted to use the other way to the town center braved the landslides, mudflow and falling rocks whenever aftershocks occurred.
“The information about the trapped villagers came from them so the provincial government initiated the rescue mission,” Macasarte told reporters here.
Mansueto Gambis, one of those rescued from Sitio Bagong Silang, Luayon, told reporters they survived by eating root crops and rice for five days.
After the successful rescue mission, Macasarte personally thanked, on behalf of North Cotabato provincial government and the people of Makilala, the Philippine Air Force officers for their “efforts and determination to save lives.”
She identified them as Capt. Glenn Cadelina, Capt. Frank Floyd Tabat, Capt. Niel Jasper Layug and Lt. Fredelle Torres and their crew members.
Macasarte also lauded the members of the ground crew from the Philippine Army and Bureau of Fire Protection personnel who cleared the landing site from threats and for providing security around the village of Luayon.
“All accounted for, we got them safely,” she said in her social media post, accompanied by images of the rescue efforts. (PNA)