ZAMBOANGA CITY: Rescuers on Monday were searching for a group of miners after a tunnel collapsed in Monkayo town, Compostela Valley.
Four people were believed killed in the tragedy that occurred in the gold-rush mountain village called Depot early on Sunday. Conflicting reports said as many as five people were trapped inside the tunnel.
It was not immediately known why the tunnel collapsed, but there was heavy rain in the area when the incident happened. Also, illegal gold mining activities continue unabated in the impoverished village of Monkayo.
The province has been the site of deadly mining tragedies in the past years and despite the dangers and hazards posed by illegal mining, the government failed miserably to control the nefarious activities.
In May 2009, at least five dozen people had died and scores injured after mining tunnels collapsed due to landslides triggered by heavy rains in Pantukan town. This was followed by several more landslide incidents on the same year that buried miners in tunnels in the towns of Maco and Monkayo.
Two years later, more than two dozen miners were also buried alive in landslides that hit the village of Panganason also in Pantukan town where small-scale miners erected tunnels in mountain slopes.