CH seals off landslide area, keeps families from going back

THE Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CCDRRMC) ordered four families living in Sitio Inmmaculada in Barangay Lahug to vacate the area where a landslide occurred last Tuesday afternoon.

Among those who were told to leave the area is the family of Mitos Basak and her partner Ian Vanlor Lumapas Sr., who lost their two young sons during the landslide.

In an interview yesterday, Councilor Dave Tumulak, the CCDRRMC presiding officer, said they won’t allow the families to go back to their houses for their own safety.

Nihangyo na ta nila nga ayaw sa gyud. Di lang usa sila mopuyo didto unless matabunan na tong gikab-kab didto ug tarong kay kuyaw man to ug mohulpa na pod (We requested them not to return to their houses yet. They shouldn’t go back until we can fill the excavated areas because it’s too risky. Another cave-in may occur) ,” he said.

The area has already been cordoned off.

Tumulak said he intends to meet with the barangay officials of Lahug to discuss where the families can stay in the meantime.

According to the councilor, the area where the landslide occurred now has six to seven small caves that resulted from the residents’ continued excavation or quarrying of anapog (limestone).

One of the caves collapsed last Tuesday, killing 11-year-old Ian Vanlor Lumapas Jr. and his three-year-old brother Jacob.

Tumulak said the upper part of the cave had dried up and cracked due to El Niño but the rain last Monday night and Tuesday dawn seeped into the cracks and softened the limestone, resulting in a landslide.

He said the four families in Sitio Immaculada support their children with their earnings from the small-scale quarrying there.

They sell the limestone for P30 to P35 per sack.

Following the incident, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 urged the Cebu City Government to conduct operations against illegal small-scale mining in the city.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 spokesperson, said geologists and geodetic engineers of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 went to Lahug yesterday to inspect the area where the landslide occurred.

Llamedo said that based on the findings of their team, they found that the limestone in Sitio Immaculada is highly porous and could easily collapse even without rain.

Aside from the small quarry site where the landslide occurred, two other quarries were found in the same sitio.

The team from MGB immediately met with Lahug Barangay Captain Jovito Taborada and told him their recommendations.

One of their recommendations is to seal off the area from the public.

The MGB team also recommended to Taborada to closely monitor the area for any possible movement, Llamedo said.

In an interview yesterday, Llamedo said it is within the City’s power to stop illegal small-scale mining operations.

Under the Local Government Code, it is the local government unit, not the DENR, that will issue the small scale mining permits in the case of highly urbanized cities such as Cebu City and Mandaue City, Llamedo said.

He said that while some indigents depend on small scale mining for a living, it could be hazardous if safety measures are not in place.

To keep the families from engaging in risky livelihood, Tumulak said he will ask Cebu City’s Department of Social Welfare and Services to provide the families with alternative livelihood.

Mas maayo man gyud nga naa tay alternative livelihood nga ikahatag kay ang mga tawo ug naa pay tarong nga panginabuhi, dili mo-resulta sa ingon ani ka-risgo nga pamuyo (It will be better if we can give the families another form of livelihood. If these people had a proper means of earning a living, they wouldn’t expose themselves to these risks),” he said.

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