Authorities temporarily suspend search and retrieval ops in Itogon, Benguet

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FILE PHOTO

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — Authorities have temporarily suspended the search and retrieval operations in Barangay Ucab in Itogon, Benguet.

This was confirmed to CNN Philippines by Itogon Mayor Vic Palangdan and the Office of Civil Defense Cordillera Region (OCD-CAR).

In a text message, OCD-CAR Regional Director Ruben Carandang said the excavation has already reached the toe of the landslide, which he said “is very dangerous for our retrieval personnel."

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Leopoldo Imbang Jr., chief of the search, rescue and retrieval cluster in ground zero, said retrieval teams have already exhausted all possible areas where victims could be found.

Imbang added that they no longer found any victim and other indication of a body buried in the area.

As of Sunday, September 30, death toll has reached 100 — 91 of which were recovered while the nine others are still missing.

Caranding said they will recommend to the National Incident Management Team the termination of the search and retrieval operations in the area in a meeting on Tuesday.

The landslide crashed on a bunkhouse-turned-church where small-scale miners and their families sought refuge during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on September 15.

CNN Philippines correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.