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Philippine landslide leaves trail of destruction

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART AUDIO AS INCOMING EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL At least 25 people are dead after a landslide left a trail of devastation in Pantukan town in the Philippines. 16 people were pulled out alive from under the rubble. Arnel Nicolas managed to crawl out. (SOUNDBITE) (Visayan) SURVIVOR ARNEL NICOLAS SAYING: "We were asleep when the landslide happened. Rocks and soil were falling, and I rolled down and I was thrown against a large house. And from there I was able to survive." Around 150 people, mostly miners and their families are still missing. Last year small-scale mining in the area was banned due to safety reasons. The mines bureau said the ground had softened due to liquid waste from mining activities. Recent heavy rains loosened the soil further. Many residents in the area ignored government warnings to move to safer areas, continuing the mining operations which are often illegal and unregulated. One village leader explained why. (SOUNDBITE) (Filipino) NAPNAPAN VILLAGE LEADER CELSO LARIWAN SAYING: "Authorities of the village and the municipality have talked to the villagers. The problem is -- they can't leave because of their jobs, and their property in this location. They refuse to leave." This is the second landslide in Pantukan town in almost nine months. It occurred near a mining area on Kingking, on the southern island of Mindanao which is said to be one of the world's largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. With the price of gold soaring, miners are often driven to risky pursuits to get hold of the precious metal. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters

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