Though they may have lost their houses, the 24 families or over 200 persons who were forced to leave after landslides hit their areas in Sitios Calfranco and Upper Cansiloy in Boljoon town, southern Cebu, can count themselves fortunate that they’re still alive.
The landslides that were caused by an active fault line have already compelled the Boljoon municipal government to ask the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to conduct a study to determine which areas are to be declared danger zones and thus unfit for occupancy.
There is a study on Cebu’s fault lines, and one fault line happened to cross certain areas in Boljoon town. Whether or not the Boljoon municipal government had any idea about it is not certain, but again, it’s a good thing no one died or got injured due to the landslides caused by the resulting cracks on the ground.
That same MGB study also showed active fault lines in the southwestern and central portions of Cebu. More than likely, there are hundreds of families living along these areas since they cannot afford to build better housing for themselves.
As to whether the provincial government was proactive or took the initiative in identifying these areas and helping the local governments relocate the families to safer ground, there seems to be no indication on this direction whatsoever.
What is clear for now is that the Boljoon municipal government needs the comprehensive study on the active fault line within their midst so they can relocate the families at the soonest possible time.
So far, the 24 families living in the affected areas didn’t need much convincing to leave their homes, but there is no assurance from the Boljoon municipal officials that they have a suitable relocation site on hand to house these families. And more will be forced to leave if more landslides occur and the cracks continue to expand further.
There are seven to eight hectares worth of land that are confirmed to be unfit for occupancy due to the landslides caused by the active fault line; and there may be more if the MGB study, which hopefully will be finished before more landslides occur, shows it to be so.
Being a fifth-class municipality, Boljoon town will need the provincial government’s assistance in providing livelihood, water and power to the families on top of a suitable relocation site, but the Capitol should not stop there.
For far too long, the provincial government contented itself with conducting more studies and trainings for personnel on dealing with emergencies and not on moving people out of danger zones to prevent loss of lives.
Again, it’s high time the province looks at the MGB plans and relocate families out of danger zones whether they be lying along fault lines or riverbanks or coastal areas vulnerable to storm surges.
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