Editorial: Mantayupan Falls ‘saved’

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Monday, July 16, 2012


THE Mantayupan Falls has been “saved,” thanks to the effort of local officials to redirect the water that earlier flowed into a sinkhole back to the river that flows to the waterfalls. But that’s for now.

Even if Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas implements the plan to cover the sinkhole with concrete, there’s no assurance that Mantayupan Falls won’t dry up again. The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) still needs to come up with a deeper study of the problem before a long-term solution could be hatched. What is being done now is but knee-jerk.

Reports said that MGB 7 is still looking at the cause of the appearance of the sinkhole, although their probe might be hampered by the lack of gadgets, specifically a ground penetrating radar system. So it is safe to say that what we will be getting from them are conjectures.

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An MGB geologist, Abraham Lucero, advanced the theory that a thin ceiling of a natural cavern beneath the Mantayupan River, which feeds water to the falls, may have been fractured by the Feb. 6 earthquake that hit Cebu’s island-neighbor, Negros Oriental.

Add to that the operation of a back hoe by a firm that is developing a farm near the river.

He said that the sinkhole connects to an underground tunnel that exits near the base of the lower cascade of Mantayupan Falls.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time that the flow of the river was diverted away from the falls. For two decades, the waterfalls no longer existed because river water was dammed for use by a hydro power plant and the rest was diverted to feed an irrigation system.

The source of the water is a spring in Barangay Bagacay some two kilometers uphill from the falls.

Cebu Electric Cooperative (Cebeco) and the National Irrigation Authority eventually reached an agreement with stakeholders, including the Cebu Provincial Government, to “bring back the beauty” of the falls. In 2006, water cascaded from the falls again and tourists later came.

There is therefore a need for Barili town and the Province to ensure that river will continue to supply the water needed by the falls and other stakeholders. Thus, the full investigation report of the MGB needs to be submitted to and studied well by concerned authorities so a better way of solving the problem will be hatched.

Without that, worries will remain.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2012.

Opinion

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