Village folk urged to relocate

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan is asking residents from Kiangan Village in Tuba town to heed warnings and relocate and not wait for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau's warning.

Fongwan said residents at the area have been aware of the ground subsidence for a long time adding, "Alam naman nila na temporary lang sila doon."

Fongwan has personally visited the site and has talked with residents.

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"They really have to be relocated," added Fongwan.

Fongwan has spoken to the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Juana Bannawe to coordinate with the municipality of Tuba to assess the needs of families in the danger area.

The governor said there are less than 20 households in the area, which has been identified to have ground subsidence since the 1990 killer quake.

Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Alex Uy said the site of Kiangan Village is an old landslide deposit area and it is not suitable for any development.

Uy explained the ground subsidence was speculated to have been during the building of the Benguet Road (now known as Kennon Road) but people started to build houses in the area in 1968.

"The composition of the soil is more of aggregates," Uy added.

"When saturated with water, the mass will sink because of the void under, to find its equilibrium; the place will be prone to subsidence."

Fongwan said the same measure done in Mankayan town, which experienced the same problem in the past, will also be employed in the area.

Fongwan said after the assessment from the Social Welfare Office, the process of finding relocation areas for the families will begin but feared the same families will go back to the area despite the danger.

The Benguet chief executive said the common problem with the life of relocated folk who find it hard to leave their way of life when transferred, most of the time, leave their homes which stand on dangerous ground but return for livelihood.

Fongwan said the challenge for the government is to find a site which folk will find acceptable for living as well as livelihood.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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