THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to complete this year the country’s geo-hazard mapping as part of the agency’s comprehensive program to mitigate the impact of climate change.

DENR Acting Secretary Eleazar Quinto announced that as of December 2009, 91 percent of the project’s target of 1,618 municipalities nationwide has already been completed.

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“As of December 2009, a total of 1,474 municipalities have already been covered by our geo-hazard mapping and assessment program, and we are optimistic we could finish the mapping activity by June, and the production of maps by the end of the year,” Quinto said in an emailed statement to Sun.Star Davao.

Implemented by the DENR through its Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB), the nationwide geo-hazard mapping and assessment project is aimed at determining not only the susceptibility of areas to landslides, floods, liquefaction, ground subsidence and other ground instabilities but also the possible relocation sites for residents living in areas prone to natural dangers.

Quinto said the project comprises three components, namely, generation of geo-hazard maps which would indicate the areas prone to natural dangers, printing and reproduction of maps, posters and video materials related to geo-hazards, and public information campaign to increase public awareness of the various natural hazards and familiarize them with geo-hazard maps and their uses.

The department has allotted some P60 million this year to ensure the project’s completion.

He also said priority will be given to areas within the Eastern Seaboard, considered most prone to typhoons.

“Specifically, we are targeting the remaining unmapped areas in the Eastern Seaboard such as portions of Isabela, Cagayan, Samar, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental,” Quinto said, adding that geo-hazard mapping in other provinces within the Eastern Seaboard like Surigao provinces, Aurora, Ilocos Norte, and Davao del Sur has already been completed.

Earlier, MGB has identified top 10 provinces prone to landslides which include Benguet, Mt. Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Kalinga-Apayao, Southern Leyte, Abra, Marinduque, Cebu, Catanduanes, and Ifugao. (BOT)