HEROES in times of disasters: Soldiers frontliners in Pantukan landslide

Soldiers are always the frontliners of every disaster response operation. Indeed, in the most crucial of times and in the advent of disasters and emergencies, they are not far behind.

And every situation, their self-sacrifice, courage, and dependability are re-created, carved, and remembered.

On April 22, 2011, a landslide hit a mining site in sitio Panganason, Barangay Kingking in Pantukan town in Compostela Valley that left eight people dead and a number of persons missing. It was really a sad Friday as the wrath of nature destroyed houses and buried miners alive.

As it is, government soldiers under the 71st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Camilo Ligayo were the first rescuers. They wade through murky waters, scoured rubbles and debris just to retrieve landslide victims. One could not see in them tiredness as they expended the last of their energy to save lives in distress.

Ligayo says they could no longer feel hungry as their focus is to save the lives of those miners who were victims of poverty. The retrieval operation that time lasted for more than three days until the area was closed to human occupancy by the Office of the Civil Defense 11.

Those victims whose houses were ravaged by the disaster were ushered by soldiers to the safer grounds and evacuation sites. The soldiers’ vehicles were there to ferry innocent children, sickly adults and pregnant women.

Deep in their hearts, soldiers are willing to give up their lives in rescue efforts. They will not hesitate to do it because the mantra of every soldier-rescuer is “every life saved is worth the sacrifice.”

Indeed, soldiers are the hope at the bleakest hours in some peoples’ lives. Indefatigably, like the 71st IB men, their strong arms will continue to reach out whenever and wherever their help is most needed.




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