by Jayvee P. Hingpit

CEBU, Philippines – One man was killed while three others suffered minor injuries after overhanging limestone collapsed at an illegal quarry site in Sitio Guisok, Barangay Tuburan Sur, Danao City, last Monday, around 2:30 p.m.

The fatality was identified as Jessie Oliver, 29, while those injured were Clarito Minagkot Morio, 57; Daniel Capute, 65; and Vicente Batucan Hermosa, 66. All are residents of the said area.

The Danao Police Station said they received a telephone call from a concerned citizen telling them that there were four persons trapped after an accident while extracting limestone. The Danao City Rescue Team, which is based in the same building as the police, was immediately dispatched.

“Based sa amo initial investigation, hing-collapse g’yud ang upper portion sa yuta. Five to seven feet na g’yud ang ila nakubkob then humok man kaayo ang yuta, siguro kay tungod ni sa sigeg uwan these past few days,” Senior Police Officer 2 Nelson Pantoja said.

The rescue team was able to dig out the four men. Morio, Capute, and Hermosa only suffered minor injuries while Oliver, who was seriously hurt, died on the way to the Cebu Provincial Hospital in Danao City.

Based on the records of the Cebu Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, the quarry permit for the area in Tuburan Sur expired on September 12, 2014 and was not renewed due to unsafe quarry operations, but the men went on digging anyway.

“Amo nahibal-an nga ang extraction sa limestone sa lugar is an illegal operation. Dugay na diay na-expire ang quarry permit and wala pa kini na-renew tungod sa ilang unsafe quarry operation. Ato g’yud masulti nga dili g’yud angayan nga mag-quarrying sa lugar. Dugay na diay ni gipaundang pero nagpadayon gihapon sila sa ila operasyon,” Pantoja added.

Pantoja said that they will check if there are other illegal quarrying operations in Sitio Guisok.

In a statement released by Mines and Geosciences Bureau–7 on their Facebook page, they will conduct a separate investigation on illegal quarrying operations in Danao City.

“The bureau has boosted partnership with the local government units in curbing illegal mining and quarrying activities, but we cannot do this alone. We need the help of local community leaders and other stakeholders to report any questionable operations which are illegally extracting mineral resources,” read the statement from MGB-7 Director Loreto Alburo.

In April last year, two young boys were killed in a cave-in while extracting limestone in another illegal quarry in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City. | FREEMAN