Abandoned mine tunnel in Itogon displaces 12 families

THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Cordillera Autonomous Region together with town officials are set to conduct a thorough investigation following the evacuation of at least 12 families in Goldfiled, Poblacion, Itogon, Benguet.

According to a police report, the families were evacuated after a flashflood occurred in the area, adding that flood waters came from the old tunnel of Atlas Mining and Development Corporation that was abandoned for almost 50 years.

Although no houses were damaged following the sudden pour of water from the two tunnels, Itogon police forced residents in the area to evacuate for fear of possible landslide.

The evacuees were later brought to Goldfield Elementary School while others chose to stay with their relatives in nearby barangays.

Mayor Victor Palangdan, in a radio interview said the municipality will work closely with the MGB in the region and other agencies during the inspection and pinpoint the main cause of the sudden water outburst following the continuous rain in the Cordillera region.

The MGB-Cordillera earlier pushed for a review of mining areas following the occurrences of ground subsidence particularly in Benguet towns last year.

Study of lithological characteristics and stratigraphic relationships of rock formations was recommended to be undertaken by the MGB in mining areas in the region for better understanding of ground subsidence hazards.

The MGB has an existing geohazard map using the ratio of 1:50,000 scale while in the municipalities of Tublay, Benguet and Lagawe Ifugao, hazard maps were at 1:10,000 scale.

Based on 2016 records by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the geo-hazard mapping of the MGB, Benguet is considered 90 percent prone to landslides, noting all the provinces in the Cordillera were in the top 10 landslide-prone areas in the country.

Based in the DENR-MGB data, the top 10 landslide-prone areas list was topped by Benguet, followed by Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Kalinga, Apayao, Southern Leyte, Abra, Marinduque, Cebu, and Catanduanes.
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