Some Cebu areas susceptible to landslides host mining operations
MGB-7 GEOHAZARD MAP
SEVERAL areas in Cebu province that are susceptible to landslides also happened to host mining operations.
Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB-7), an attached office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, revealed that some mining firms are situated in towns or cities that have areas that are highly susceptible to landslide.
Barangay Tina-an in Naga City, according to MGB-7’s geohazard map, is classified under “moderate to high” landslide susceptibility.
The landslide that struck the village on Thursday morning affected two sitios – Tagaytay and Sindulan, and has claimed 35 lives as of Saturday afternoon.
Landslide susceptibility is used for geohazard maps to identify which areas are prone to land movement or where ‘landslide scars’ are still active and present. They come in four levels: low, moderate, high, and high and critical.
Low landslide susceptibility meant that the ground is stable, and there is no presence of any landslide scars.
Stable areas with ‘localized mass movement’ are under moderate level.
Meanwhile, high landslide susceptibility meant that the land is already unstable, and will likely experience movement.
When movement of land covers a significant portion of an area, coupled with effects of human activities such as quarrying, then it is considered high and critical to landslide susceptibility.
The factors used to determine a place’s landslide susceptibility included the characteristics of the soil or ground, and external ones especially those that will likely trigger for it to erode such as rains and human activities.
Several residents from Barangay Tina-an blamed Apo Cement Corporation, which is based in the same village, for the tragedy.
But Apo, one of the country’s largest cement producers, has denied reports that they recently conducted quarrying activities there.
Cebu Daily News contacted MGB-7 for further insights and comments on this matter but a staff, who refused to divulge his identity, said no person authorized to speak to the media was present since government offices are closed on weekends.
Aside from Barangay Tina-an, other villages in Naga City that were found to have high landslide susceptibility included Alpaco, Bairan, Cantao-an, Lanas, Mainit, Mayana, Naalad, Patag, and Uling.
MGB-7’s geohazard map also identified more areas which have high landslide suspectibility such as the 19 mountain barangays in Cebu City: Adlaon, Banilad, Buhisan, Budlaan, Busay, Guadalupe, Guba, Lahug, Lusaran, Malubog, Pamutan, Paril, Pulangbato, Pung-ol, Sibugay, Sapangdako, Sirao, Tagba-o, Taptap, and To-ong.
The Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources (CCENRO), on Thursday, told reporters that there is only one firm in the city engaged in small-scale quarrying in Barangay Pulangbato.
Two companies are registered and allowed to conduct mining activities in Minglanilla.
The town has three barangays highly suspectible to landslide, namely, Cadulawan, Cuanos and Manduang.
Barangays Candulawan, Jaclupan, Lagtang, Lawaan III, Manipis, Tapul and Sto.Niño in Talisay City, too, are highly susceptible to landslide.
MGB-7’s list of registered mining companies in Cebu showed that a firm is engaged in exploration activities in Talisay City but it did not specify as to what barangay.
Last Friday evening, a minor landslide occurred in Barangay Gaas in Balamban town in western Cebu.
Fortunately, no injuries and damages were reported.
There are 14 barangays in the town that have high landslide susceptibility.
Balamban Mayor Ace Binghay said the incident made the Transcentral Highway, which links the western towns to Cebu City, to be unpassable for a couple of hours.
“We received the alarm at around 8 p.m., responded and started clearing operations by 10:30 p.m., then before 12 midnight, the road was already passable,” said Binghay.
But he advised travellers, especially those traversing Transcentral Highway, to take precautionary measures.
“Especially in the night, we have to be extra careful when we drive. If possible, let’s just postpone our trips especially if the weather is really bad and it starts to rain,” Binghay said.
At least one private entity is doing mining activity in Balamban town, according to the MGB-7 data. Binghay assured that the company’s operations in his town will not lead to disastrous consequences.
“This mining firm does not operate regularly. They’re an on-and-off thing. And it’s only a small-scale mining company, extracting coal to be sold to power plants,” he added.
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