RESIDENTS of Ma-a renewed their call urging the City Government to stop development activities on top of Shrine Hills as they pose danger to thousands of families living at the foot of the hill.

Introduced by Councilor Leonardo Avila III, Barangay Ma-a Federation of Home Owners Association Inc. (BMFHOAI) chair Norma Javellana addressed members of the council, urging them to support the petition declaring Shrine Hills a protected area.

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With the support of around 50 homeowners, Javellana presented the petition or open letter signed by 2,979 residents of Ma-a.

“The petition signing is a work in progress, also involving schools, and churches and puroks,” Javellana said.

Javellana said by supporting the petition, the council will save the residents from the danger of soil erosion.

“(Our petition) goes back to 2006 and 2007 when several subdivisions experienced flashfloods, erosion problems and destruction of housing units, roads, and water ways. Construction works of developers were causing erosion. Investigations by the residents that followed clearly showed (this) substantially contributed to the problem,” Javellana said.

She raised the need for a new comprehensive land use and zoning ordinance.

“Much of what has been happening in Ma-a Shrine hills is, among others, the result of a zoning process that lacked long-term and strategic thinking, that lacked good independent scientific and geological and environmental studies and that lacked broad based consultations,” Javellana said.

She said studies conducted by developers are self-serving. “They are not holistic, not considering the whole of Shrine Hills and not at the service of the total existing community.”

She lauded the council’s move to conduct a study at Shrine Hills, saying: “We are grateful that our proposition to have an independent study conducted has been approved had received word from Vice Mayor Sara Duterte to receive budget.”

Avila, who is City Council committee on environment and natural resources chair, said a the team of independent geologists led by Sandra Catane from the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGPS) of University of the Philippines will conduct a study.

“The study is still in the middle of finalizing the memorandum of agreement on how it should be funded,” Avila said.

An ocular inspection led by Catane was conducted in November last year at Shrine Hills as arranged by Avila and Councilor Pilar Braga as chair of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Zoning Ordinance.

Catane gave a recommendation that the area showed geo-hazard signs and a study should be conducted. (JCZ)