Shutdown of ‘killer’ quarry site in Anda enforced anew; 2 men presumed dead

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Shutdown of ‘killer’ quarry site in Anda enforced anew; 2 men presumed dead

Topic |  

The quarry site at Barangay Candabong in Anda|Photo: Jun Gutierrez

The quarry in the town of Anda which claimed the lives of two men including a minor in 2011 was ordered closed for good after a rock slide in the same site on Monday pinned down two male quarry workers who are now presumed dead.  

There were 10 workers digging and piling anapog (limestone) at around 4:45 p.m. on March 5 at a quarry site in Barangay Candabong when a large rock estimated to measure around 50 meters in diameter rolled from the mountainside.

Upon noticing the large rock barreling towards them, the quarry workers ran, except Valeriano Galeya and Ariel Abac who were believed to have been stunned.

The large rock pinned down the two quarry workers and the mini-dump truck that was on standby at the site.


After over a day and a half, the composite quick response team comprising the police, military, firefighters; and rescuers from the adjacent towns of Guindulman, Alicia, Pilar, Candijay, and Duero, shifted to retrieval operation from rescue operation.

The wife of one of the victims, Abac, said his cellphone still rang when she dialed his number.

In 2011, two male victims including a minor died from a similar incident at the same site.

Anda Acting Mayor Nilo Bersabal vowed that within his three-month stint as chief executive of the town, he would exhaust all powers vested in him to put an end to the dangerous venture of some residents of barangayCandabong.

Bersabal had just been oriented by DILG officials on his duties and functions as acting mayor that day and the report on the tragedy came later in the afternoon.

While the quarry workers would always justify it with poverty, Bersabal told them there are other means of livelihood that are safe.

Bersabal also said that it was only on January 25 that the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bohol Environment Management Office (BEMO) and officials from DENR held a joint meeting where the quarry workers were called and told to stop their activities as they were dangerous.

The municipal government and barangay officials had also reprimanded them, but the quarry workers reasoned out that they had no other means of livelihood but the limestone quarry in the area.

In fact, it had been previously ordered closed by the mayor, but the quarry boys would always find a way to outsmart the authorities.

Barangay tanods and the municipal police had been patrolling the area but they would only see the quarry workers running fast, leaving their shovels behind, everytime they would come near the area.

The local government unit had even fenced the area thrice already to prevent anybody from getting inside it, but it would always end up destroyed, indicating that the quarry workers had returned.

Bersabal said he heard the quarry workers- -all residents of barangay Candabong in Anda- -would secretly return to the quarry site in the evening and at dawn.

The MGB, DENR, BEMO, military and the police had agreed to also run after all the contacts of the quarry workers.

Bersabal said officials from the region and the province had repeatedly reprimanded the quarry workers, but the latter never heeded their orders.


While there are other means of livelihood available, the contacts of the quarry workers took advantage of their poverty to easily lure them into such dangerous venture.

The quarry workers earned P500 a day from digging and piling limestone.

When they had gathered enough volume of limestone, they would just contact the buyer who is also a limestone supplier to other companies.

In the initial informal inquiries conducted, it had been learned that the mini-dump truck was owned by former vice mayor and now a councilor, Edel Tan; but research is still ongoing as to who owns the property, since there were two family names that cropped up- -Felisilda and Bertudes.


A quick response team from TARSIER 117; rescuers from the towns of Guindulman, Alicia, Pilar, Candijay, and Duero came; 47th Infantry Battalion; Bureau of Fire Protection; and Philippine National Police came to help the search and rescue operation conducted until 8 p.m. on Monday, but failed.

The barangay hall of Candabong has been activated as the as emergency operation center, according to Anthony Damalerio, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) officer.

The search and rescue operation resumed in the morning the following day until 7 p.m.

Now, that over 24 hours had passed, the victims are presumed dead and the response teams have shifted to retrieval operations.

Damalerio said that the rock pinning the dump truck down is too large that even the heavy equipment brought to the site by the DPWH 3rd engineering district could not move it.

Aside from the large rock, limestone materials around it are also adding to the weight.

The option being considered is to resort to blasting, for which the retrieval teams are processing the permits from the mayor or the LGU, the police, and other offices.

He said the Philippine Mining Services Corporation based in Garcia-Hernandez has brought blasting equipment.

Damalerio explained that after 12 hours, the survival rate for the victims would already be difficult.

He said that the families of the victim told them that they just wanted to have the bodies recovered.

Damalerio added that it is even dangerous for the responders to go near the site because there are still rocks that are likely to roll down.

The quarry site is around 100 meters from the barangay road, and no residence is seen nearby.

The military and the police have cordoned the entire barangay, not just the quarry site, to keep everyone safe.

The barangay tanods had already been alerted that no one should be allowed to go near the area.

Damalerio said initially gathered information indicated that the quarry boys already noticed during the height of Tropical Storm Basyang’s onslaught in mid-February that the soil had started to erode.

They were surprised that after the first signs of erosion, the landslide came suddenly on Monday when the weather was fine.

According to residents, the soil may have softened due to accumulated rainwater.

Basyang passed near Bohol as it headed west from the Pacific Ocean bringing heavy rains to the province, but it did not intensify into a typhoon as it instead weakened into a tropical depression when it made landfall over Surigao del Sur.

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