Two high school children died, one was injured and two others were missing Thursday in Pamplona town after they were accidentally buried in a sand quarry while gathering sand for their school in barangay Calicanan, some 60 kilometers west of here.
Dr. Milagros Velez, Provincial Schools Division Superintendent for Negros Oriental, identified the fatalities as Kiram Kibate, 12 and Leo Jen Baya, 13, the injured as Bertrand Anfone and the missing only as Ronald and Dante. They were all students of the Calicanan High School Extension, which is close to the town’s border with Sta. Catalina Municipality in the hinterlands of southeastern Negros Oriental.
In an interview with the Dumaguete Metropost, Velez quoted Calicanan High School Extension Principal Aldin Ladion as saying that the students were asked to gather sand from a nearby quarry in order to cement the muddy school grounds.
However, as the students were digging for sand beneath a wall of sand, the wall caved in and buried the students at around 4 p.m.
Rescuers pulled three students out of the sand. One was instantly killed while the other was declared dead at the Amio Community Hospital in Sta. Catalina town. Anfone, meanwhile, was rushed to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City.
Dr. Velez said they are still ascertaining whether Ronald and Dante, whom Anfone has been asking about, were been able to return to their homes.
She said that upon learning of the incident, she immediately asked the Pamplona police to secure the teachers because she was worried that they would be harmed by irate parents or relatives of the victims.
She also asked Ladiona to reach out to the families of the victims with the help of the local government unit and to provide the caskets for the deceased.
Velez said her office has already begun their investigation into the incident and the liability of all concerned would be determined through the grievance procedure of the Department of Education.
Velez was scheduled to visit the teachers in Pamplona to give them moral support. “They are so scared for their safety. I have to visit them to know their side or else, who will speak for them if everyone condemns them?”
She also rejected suggestions to temporarily close the school because of the incident. Calicanan High School extension has 221 students from first to fourth