IN PHOTOS: Searching for survivors at the Itogon landslide site

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Rescue continues as bodies are retrieved from the site. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Itogon, Benguet (CNN Philippines Life) — A community of small-scale gold miners in Brgy. Ucab, in Benguet's Itogon town, was devastated by a landslide on Sept. 15, Saturday, as Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) battered the northern part of the Philippines. The landslide is just one of the many effects of the 900km-wide typhoon that triggered the mountainous Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). At least 60 are feared buried and dead in the site alone.

Itogon is known to be rich in gold, as the number of mining companies based in the area shows.

On Monday, Sept. 17, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu ordered the ban on small-scale pocket mining. Handing down a total ban on unregistered mining in the Cordillera region, and cancellation of temporary small-scale permits. Cimatu called it a “wake up call.”

On the same day as Cimatu's ordered ban, Edwin Banawol, a leader of a mining group, was pulled out lifeless from the mud. On the rescue mission sidelines, a miner gathers his belongings, one of which is a set of illegal dynamite explosives.

As of Tuesday night, 18 bodies have been recovered from this site in Ucab.

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0001 - 5MS02670.jpg Retrieval operations faced many challenges since heavy equipment could not be brought to the site, forcing rescuers to work manually. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0005 - 5MS02863.jpg A man looks for signs of life under a collapsed wall. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0008 - 5MS02878.jpg Volunteers cut down debris to manageable pieces. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0012 - 5MS02940.jpg An army rescuer attempts to cut through a section of a collapsed flooring. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0010 - 5MS02924.jpg Locals, police, and the army help hand-in-hand. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0013 - 5MS02955.jpg Volunteers and other rescuers share water bottles to keep hydrated. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0016 - 5MS02987.jpg A lifeless chicken found in the rubble. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0014 - 5MS02963.jpg An army rescuer hammers a section of a collapsed flooring. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0022 - 5MS03049.jpg A miner's helmet found in the debris. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0026 - 5MS02771.jpg As rescuers were busy digging out mud in search for life, a miner gathers belongings he was able to save from the landslide. In photo is his illegal dynamite explosive set. "Ito, bawal 'to, nakita na ng pulis kanina," he said. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0019 - 5MS03028.jpg Edwin Banawol's hand was the first part of his body that was seen. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO

Ucab Benguet landslide - Martin San Diego- 0024 - 5MS03052.jpg Rescuers put Edwin Banawol's body in a makeshift stretcher. Photo by MARTIN SAN DIEGO