Probe into ‘earth movement’ sought-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) are set to conduct an investigation and ocular inspection on the reported “earth movement” in Barangay Ayala, Magalang town.
The alleged “earth movement” resulted in a rampaging runoff from the steep slopes of the fabled Mt. Arayat at the height of Typhoon “Santi” on Friday evening, cutting a wide swath of destruction in this village at the foot of the mountain, with the high-velocity deluge overflowing on the main road, breaking down concrete fences and destroying properties, including rice crops and fishponds, estimated to be worth millions of pesos.
A member of the regional mobile group of the Philippine National Police, 26-year-old PO1 Criscencio Bueno, of Pangasinan, stationed at a man-made dam near a creek, died after being washed away by the rampaging waters.
In its report during the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office at Capitol recently, Penro and MGB officials said that rock and soil formation probably created an artificial dam that impounded waters and earth upstream, contrary to what Ayala villagers said the deluge was caused by unabated charcoal making of folks living on the slopes of the mountain who have cut down hundreds of trees, mostly acacia.
“Based on testimonies of those living in the area, as heavy rain and strong winds hit the area, trees were uprooted causing earth movement and soil erosion that led to the scouring of the artificial dams,” the report said.
“Upstream waters was accelerated and indiscriminately flowed toward different directions (agri and communal. The formation of creeks was caused by the destruction and/or over-tapping of the artificial dams,” the report added.
Officials said that “recommendations will be forwarded after due consultation and concurrence with all involved agencies as soon as possible.”
At the moment, more than 2,000 Ayala villagers fear that unless authorities stop the continued denudation of the mountain, something worse will befall the barangay.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 21, 2013.