A hundred more are feared dead and buried.
Senior Inspector Werenfredo Regidor Jr., chief of police of Pantukan town in Compostela Valley, said the landslide occurred at about 4 a.m.
"Initially meron tayong na-receive na report na 16 ang na-retrieve na bangkay ... Mining site 'yan(initial reports show 16 bodies were retrieved. This was a mining site)", GMA News reported.
Regidor also cited initial reports indicating as many as 100 were buried in the landslide, most of them are likely small-scale miners.
"Doon natutulog, doon nakatira ang nagmimina ... Maraming tao sa area," he said.
Residents have been advised to leave the place due to mining activities in the area.
He also said there were few other details as the cellular phone signals in the affected area were weak.
"Madilim kanina nang nag-landslide. May contact person tayo sa area pero mahirap kumuha ng details kasi walang signal," he said.
PAGASA officer-in-charge Graciano Yumul said the province only experienced light rains overnight. He said heavy rains in northern Mindanao in the past days may have triggered the mountain soil to erode, according to ABS-CBN News.
“Ang nagcause is ang ‘antecedent rainfall’, yung pag-ulan na nangyari bago ang lanslide, maidudugtong niyo na siya sa panahon ng Sendong kasi ang eastern Mindanao, kasama ang Compostela Valley, ay nakatangap ng maraming pag-ulan,” Yumul told dzMM.
Uy said he will order a forced evacuation for residents living in similar high-risk areas in the province.
Search and retrieval operations continue for the missing residents. The damage from the incident has yet to be assessed.
A landslide also hit Pantukan town last April 24, 2011, which killed 3.