Residents told to leave landslide area in Talisay

Posted on September 12, 2012

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Despite warnings from authorities of the risk to landslides and rock fall, residents of barangay Campo 4 in Talisay City stick around and try to lead normal lives. (JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Residents of barangay Campo 4 in Talisay City were told to evacuate immediately after government geologists found their area highly susceptible to landslides and rockfall.

But barangay residents aren’t eager to leave.

The area coveres a five-kilometer stretch which became unstable especially during the rainy season.

The instability of the slopes was worsened by ongoing road construction, according to Maria Elena Lupo, senior geologist of the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau 7 (MGB-7),

“I already warned them but they won’t leave the area because of their livelihood and the difficulties of evacuating,” barangay captain Luciano Cabitangan, Jr. said in Cebuano.

Severino Labitad, 74, said they would leave unless given a “written court order.”

MGB-7 warned in a statement that “the slope which is 60 degrees or almost vertical, is highly fractured with noted seepages.”

At first, they thought the danger posed by the landslide was minimal, said Cabatingan.

“During the first two instances, we decided to keep it to ourselves. But the third time we already called the media since authorities are not properly responding,” he

Because of the landslides, Cabatingan said, residents sometimes sleep in the barangay hall with their children especially if it is raining for fear of landslides.

The first landslide occurred July 27, the second time last week of August, and the latest was in September 3.

After the MGB-7inspection, yesterdat, the government geologists said that strong rains and earth movement due to ongoing road construction may have worsened the problem as the limestone soil in the slopes of Campo 4 was already weakened.

The rubble from the landslide in Campo 4, Talisay City were placed aside but the residents are still in danger. A father makes sure his children come home safe as they cross the dangerous trek back home. (TONEE DESPOJO)

“The area is highly susceptible to landslides and rockfall due to the highly fractured plus jointed and highly weathered characteristics of the rocks of the area which is further aggravated by an ongoing slope cutting by a road expansion project,” the statement added.

But a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 official does not believe the ongoing road rehabilitation is the reason for the landslides.

“I don’t think the project caused the landslides because we started in April and it happened in early September. We believe the earthquake aggravated the landslides,” state project engineer Marilyn Ojeda told Cebu Daily News.

Cabatingan however agrees with the government geologists.

“The widening really caused the landslide because there were no rockfalls and soil erosion in other areas where there is no road widening,” Cabitangan said.

The P52 million road rehabilitation project was awarded to QM Builders construction company.

“QM Builders is doing two projects in Talisay City. One is the road widening project in barangay Lagtang and the other in Camp 4,” Ojeda added. /Jessa J. Agua and Joy Cherry Quito, Correspondents

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