MGB-7 sends team to probe Sibulan tunnel collapse as rescuers recover one body

By: Futch Anthony Inso and Inquirer.net January 03,2019 - 09:01 PM

Rescuers from Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Army Reserve Command measure the depth of the pit on Thursday (January 3) where the treasure hunters are buried. (Photo by Alex Pal, Inquirer Visayas)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — As the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of Central Visayas (MGB – 7) deployed a team to investigate an alleged treasure hunting that went wrong in Sibulan town, Negros Oriental that resulted to three men buried 50 feet underground, rescue teams in the area had also recovered on Thursday (January 3), one of the bodies of the three men. 

In a statement sent to Cebu Daily News, MGB – 7 Information  Officer Marian Codilla said their bureau was sending a geologist, and a mining engineer to the area to conduct an investigation. 

“They will be assisted by the technical staff from the PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office) in Negros Oriental. They are still on transit (as of this afternoon),” said Codilla. 

Codilla also said their team might be able to send to the MGB – 7’s regional office, which is located in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City, a report of their findings tomorrow, Friday (January 4). 

“Though treasure hunting is not with DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) – MGB, but still, we will send technical personnel to investigate. Treasure hunting is under the (jurisdiction of the) National Museum (of the Philippines),” she added. 

As of this afternoon, Thursday (January 3), rescue teams recovered the body of one of the three treasure hunters buried alive in a tunnel 50 feet deep in Barangay Boloc-Boloc in Sibulan town, Negros Oriental Wednesday.

The still unidentified body was recovered from the water and mud some 50 feet underneath the barangay road, where the tunnel was found.

The three men buried were identified as Bobby Baldado, 32, Algie Javier, 28, and Boy Insilay, 61. They were trapped under the ground after the rain softened the soil and caused the tunnel to collapse. 

A fourth member, Mauro Alforque, survived and reported the incident to authorities.

The Filipino Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade brought in floodlights to allow the rescuers to continue the search at night.

“We’re hoping for a miracle at this time as the miners have been trapped underground for about 30 hours already,” June Garcia punong barangay of Boloc-Boloc, said.

The digging for buried treasure started on Dec. 30 and continued until Wednesday, January 2.

Rescuers from Sibulan, as well as from the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine National Police, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Dumaguete Rescue team, and the Filipino-Chinese Volunteers Fire Brigade have joined the operation./dbs

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TAGS: Algie, Baldado, Bobby, body, boy, bureau, Central, Geosciences, hunting, Insilay, Javier, MGB-7, Mines, Negros, Oriental, recover, rescue, Sibulan, treasure, Visayas

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