City urges mines bureau to create guide to address hazards posed by sinkholes

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita September 20,2017

FOLLOWING the discovery of 770 sinkholes in Cebu City, officials of the city government are asking the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to help them formulate risk allocation matrix that will serve as guide for government agencies and officials in addressing these hazards.

This was raised by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) after their meeting yesterday.

Once this matrix is completed, it would then be echoed by barangay officials to their respective constituents, said Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña.

“They will go back to the barangays and talk to them in the language that is understood because they have to have some accountability also. You know, we don’t want to instill that feeling of helplessness. There’s something you can do. You can live with the fact that there are sinkholes,” said Osmeña, who heads the City Council’s committee on disaster risk reduction management and climate change adaptation.

Osmeña was referring to the MGB-7 who, as early as March this year, has already submitted results of their Karst Subsidence Assessment and Ground Penetrating Radar study.

But the results are very technical and difficult to digest by barangay officials and more so to their constituents.

Councilor Dave Tumulak added that it is important to empower the barangays in keeping their own constituents safe being the frontliners, and knowing well their community.

According to CCDRRMC head Nagiel Bañacia, the formulation of the risk allocation matrix would also involve other technical people who would help advise the city on what to do and prepare to avert possible disaster that may involve the sinkholes or underground depression present in different parts of the city.

“This is no longer on disaster response. We focus on preparedness. We are not anymore waiting for it to happen. We also need to relate this to our development in the city,” he said.

Bañacia added that based on the results of MGB study, they will focus first on public buildings like schools, barangay gymnasiums and hospitals, among others.

He said it is important to secure these areas which are commonly used by the city and the barangays as evacuation areas in times of emergencies or disasters.

Earlier this month, the Cebu City Council was briefed by officials from MGB on the results of their study which found the presence of 770 sinkholes in specific areas in the city’s 80 barangays.

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