Sinkholes in Tawang relocation site found

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A portion of the proposed relocation site in Tawang is riddled with sinkholes and surface depression.

Municipal engineer Benedict Pineda, in a report, said the ground irregularities were found in 2011 and reported to then mayor Greg Abalos.

Pineda said that during the time of Abalos, the municipality was bent into converting the area to a site for those rendered homeless by typhoon Pepeng but suffered a setback when land claimants halted the conversion.

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The sinkholes were discovered with the biggest measuring 3.9 meters in length and 8 meters in depth, while ground depression in the area was also seen.

Claimants have since elevated the case to the Office of the President, determined to stake their claim over the area.

The supposed Tawang relocation site is divided into two parcels of land with parcel 1 at 1.7 hectares while parcel 2 is at 1.6 hectares comprising the 3.3 relocation site where 152 and 141 lots for housing will be set up respectively.

However, Faye Apil of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said the areas in question are only part of the entire lot area of the Tawang site which does not affect the entire 3.3 hectare site.

Apil said the Bureau has given a certification of safety to the area initially, even with the sinkholes and depression cited by the municipality.

"We can do another assessment if the municipality needs it," added Apil.

Apil said the MGB will also have to study structural plans of the homes to be set up if and when the municipality starts actual construction.

The site is owned by the Benguet State University awarded to the municipality during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through a presidential decree, which claimants have since contested.

The report of Pineda detailed four areas with ground subsidence totaling to 4,670 square meters equivalent to 50 buildable lots for the evacuees.

Pineda recommended the MGB in 2011 to inspect and investigate the area as well as to amend the Presidential Decree of Arroyo to include the main road entrance, interconnecting roads between the areas, correct errors in the technical description of the lots and to include additional areas to compensate for the loss of buildable lots as a result of the discovered ground defects.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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