Saturday , June 23, 2018

Editorial: Those cracks on the flanks

WE'VE been warned before, but the hills looked so lush and green. We're talking about the landslide along Diversion Road, on the flank of Shrine Hills to be exact.

The earth is still moving, and slipping, and the danger has not passed. We just have to learn our lesson from this.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Davao Region has already identified the flanks of Shrine Hills as highly unstable with several areas also identified as medium unstable as its soil base are composed of "highly porous, friable, coralline limestone and sandstone." In short, soil that can easily be dislodged.

The photos of the slide show soil that is very dry and loose. The dry weather interspersed with very heavy rain makes landslide possibility very high. For while the earth beneath is dry and crusty, the soil above is soggy and heavy. That is the very reason why there have been cracks detected, just a few days before the landslide.

Now, the Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao Region is trying its best to stem the slide and anticipate possible earth movements by removing boulder-sized limestone. But it's taking time.

Let this be a warning to land developers and lot owners on the flanks of Shrine Hills. Consider the MGB warning and do not build. No amount of reinforcement can ever prepare anyone from the forces of nature. True, a structure may stand and look stable, but that portion of the hill looked stable for a long, long time. Until the first crack manifested and the earth fell down. Now we are seeing a loose foundation that can no longer withstand the constant vibrations of lumbering cargo trucks along the Diversion Road where all cargo trucks pass through.

The residents of Ma-a who have called for the "Saving of Shrine Hills" have a point: the hills may provide a nice view, but the soil is not stable. Ergo, enjoy the view, but leave the hills alone.