By Judy F. Partlow
DUMAGUETE CITY, Feb. 26 A team of geologists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), headed by Dr. Art Daag, is scheduled on Monday to conduct an ocular inspection on perceived sinkholes in some areas in northern Negros Oriental that were badly hit by the magnitude 6.9 earthquake that struck the province last Feb. 6.
The provincial government of Negros Oriental has forwarded the request to PHIVOLCS after suspected sinkholes were observed in Tinaogan, Bindoy town, along the shorelines of Ayungon town and some parts of Guihulngan City, said Capitol Information Officer Adrian Sedillo on Sunday.
According to Joe Molas, science research analyst of the PHIVOLCS Seismic Station in Sibulan, Negros Oriental, Dr. Daags team had already visited Negros Oriental earlier but had to go to Cebu upon request of provincial officials to have a suspected sinkhole in the town of Dumanhog investigated.
Molas said the sinkholes in Negros Oriental may have resulted in the thousands of aftershocks felt in the last three weeks following the main shock that jolted many parts of Cebu, Negros and other areas in the Visayas.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths due to the powerful temblor that left a trail of devastation in Negros Oriental has risen to 57 as of last count.
A report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as of 5 p.m. Sunday said two more bodies were recovered by residents under the rubble at the landslide area in Barangay Solongon, La Libertad town.
While the bodies were already beyond recognition, the PDRRMC report said residents believed they were those of Reban and Charito Lisondra.
Government and non-government rescuers and civilian volunteers continue without let-up in their retrieval operations for at least 58 missing persons believed to have perished in the landslides in Solongon, La Libertad and in Planas, Guihulngan. (PNA) RMA/JFP