Masara rescue ends, 32 survivors, 92 dead and 36 missing

Feb. 16, 2024
Philippine Army rescuers and government responders during a search and rescue operation in Barangay Masara, Davao de Oro, on February 10, 2024. (Photo by Philippine Army)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The rescue operation for survivors of the Masara landslide was ended on Tuesday, February 13, one week after the incident.

The week-long operation found 32 survivors and retrieved 71 dead bodies from the debris of dried mud and rocks.

As of February 16, the number of deaths retrieved has totaled 92, and 36 remain missing.

The operation was halted due to unstable ground movement as advised by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region XI, this was announced by Ferdinand Dobli, Apex Mining Company community relations manager and incident commander, in a press conference streamed via Facebook on February 13.

36 persons are missing from the landslide, as responders will now shift to retrieval operations, according to Maco Mayor Arthur Carlos Voltaire Rimando.

The landslide struck on the night of February 6 in Zone 1 of Masara, an area occupied by Apex Mining following days of heavy rain brought by bad weather.

Miners were either swept by the mud flow or were trapped in buses that were supposed to bring them out from their shift. Family members of miners who stayed in the area were also among the casualties and survivors.

Environment advocates and NGOs are raising calls for a climate emergency after this incident, urging a review of the government’s mining policy given the impact of climate change in recent months.

Some groups also point out that Zone 1 of Masara was already declared a no-build zone following a previous landslide in 2009 yet Apex Mining continued its operations.

Apex Mining, which has operated in Masara for decades, was acquired by Prime Strategic Holdings, a subsidiary owned by ports tycoon and billionaire Enrique Razon.

On its website, Apex Mining reported that operations in Maco delivered most of its gross revenues of PHP 9.5 billion in 2022, as the company netted an income of PHP 3.339 billion that year. (

, , ,
comments powered by Disqus