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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, December 6, 2012
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Flashflood kills
Negros soldier

Even military personnel who were supposed to conduct rescue operations in Compostela Valley province were not spared by the onslaught of typhoon Pablo.

A Negrense soldier, who was among those mobilized for rescue operations by the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, died Tuesday, when their temporary command post in New Bataan town of Compostela Valley province, was hit by a flashflood.

Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the 10th Infantry Division, yesterday confirmed the death of Sgt. Maximo Olivarez, 38, of Brgy. Inolingan, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

Olivarez, a member of the 66th Infantry Battalion Charlie Company, was among the platoon-sized soldiers, estimated at 30, who had set up a command patrol base to prepare for rescue operations in the area, which is usually hit by flashfloods.

Olivarez and seven of his colleagues who were alerted for rescue operations in the area, were swept away by rampaging waters. He was later found dead, while his commander, Lt. Deazeta, was reported to still be unconscious as of yesterday.

Six other soldiers of the 66th IB, that was previously assigned in northern and central Negros, have remained unaccounted for, while three others were injured, Paniza said.

Olivarez was among the 49 people killed in the mudslide- and flood-hit southern mountain town of New Bataan alone, military records show.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, 10th Infantry Division commanding general, said Army camps in Compostela Valley had been heavily damaged by the storm, slowing down rescue operations.

Bernardo said all their communication equipment and bunkers in one of their headquarters were destroyed.

The 10th ID has sent additional rescue units to New Bataan and dispatched military trucks to transport rescue teams to the affected areas in Compostela Valley, the Eastern Mindanao Command said in a press statement. *GPB

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