Landslide hits Cebu city; rocks block road-A A +A
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
CEBU CITY -- A landslide in a mountain barangay in Talisay City forced about 65 residents to transfer to safer ground before daybreak.
Around 4 a.m. Monday, some residents of Barangay Camp 4 were jolted awake when landslides occurred in two sitios.
While no one was hurt, the landslides totally covered a part of the Talisay-Toledo Wharf Access Road, preventing vehicles plying there from passing through.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Central Visayas has recommended the evacuation of areas affected by landslides.
The barangay was found highly susceptible to landslides in a geohazard assessment conducted in 2009, said MGB-Central Visayas information officer Dr. Eddie Llamedo.
Barangay Camp 4 officials reportedly blamed construction firm QM Builders for conducting excavations in the area and abandoning the sites afterwards.
QM Builders is the official contractor of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in its ongoing P52.6-million road widening project there.
But representatives of the construction firm said they did not abandon their excavation and were only taking precautions because frequent heavy rains had made the area landslide-prone.
Camp 4 barangay chief Jun Cabingatan said the landslide on Monday was the third in recent days. Last Sunday, another landslide had hit one part of the access road, but construction personnel cleared away the debris.
Cabingatan also said that the landslides barred the route from Talisay City to Toledo City and prevented students living in the upper villages from going to the public school in a lower part of the barangay.
While no one was hurt or killed, the landslide almost damaged some houses near the road, he added.
One resident whose house was hit by some of the fallen rocks was Benny Navacilla. Navacilla, 54, a carpenter, told Sun.Star Cebu on Monday that he and his wife left their small hut after the landslide almost hit their home last Sunday.
Just in time
He left his hut just before another landslide, stronger than the last one, almost pushed his hut toward the cliff’s edge.
Due to the landslides, Cabingatan and his barangay council summoned representatives of QM Builders to explain the problem.
He claimed that aside from the recent rainfall, the landslides were reportedly aggravated by QM Builders’ continuous excavations. Cabingatan said the contractor reportedly abandoned their excavations, without adopting measures that could prevent further soil erosion in the area.
Cabingatan suggested that the contractors dump the debris into the Mananga River, but representatives of QM Builders didn’t resort to that as they might be reprimanded by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).
Marvin Latorre, a barangay councilman who also works for QM Builders as a checker, explained they found a dumping site for the landslide’s debris. However, someone claimed the site belonged to him.
Willie Abatayo, one of QM Builders’ project supervisors, told Sun.Star Cebu they have not abandoned their project nor did anything to cause the rockfall.
Abatayo revealed they were close to finishing the excavation in Barangay Camp 4, but the lack of stability prevented them from finishing their work. He added that the rains aggravated their problem.
Abatayo said that one of his backhoes was buried during one of the landslides last Sunday. This further prevented them from finishing their work.
Talisay City Councilor Danny Caballero, who visited the area on Monday, said he plans to raise the matter to the Talisay City Council today, Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Dr. Llamedo of the mines bureau said they have advised families living near the landslide site to move.
Apart from being prone to rockfall, the area is also very steep, said Llamedo, with a slope gradient of 70 to 80 degrees.
“Although the area is underlain with limestone, which can easily absorb water and get saturated, intense and prolonged rains have aggravated the situation,” he said.
But the MGB has received no complaint linking the landslide to a quarrying company’s alleged activities in the area, he also said. (With Bernadette A. Parco/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2012.