DENR evaluates safety of settlers in North Cotabato’s landslide area PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:39

North Cotabato’s provincial government on Tuesday ordered the families displaced by landslides last week in Arakan town to wait for the result of geological studies meant to determine if it is still safe to return to the hillsides that loosened and collapsed following three days of heavy downpours.

Cynthia Ortega, chairperson of the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council, told reporters they have asked engineers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct soil testing and analysis at the hinterlands of Sitio Tinago in Barangay Napaliko, located in the west of the hinterland Arakan municipality.

Ortega said North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza and the mayor of Arakan, Rene Rubino, both do not want to endanger the lives of evacuees from Sitio Tinago by allowing a hasty return to their abandoned homes without clearance from the DENR.

Ortega said the office of Mendoza has been providing continuing relief and rehabilitation support since last week to the more than 30 families the local government of unit of Arakan transferred to relief sites far from Sitio Tinago after last week’s landslides.

Five houses in Sitio Tinago were totally wrecked when rocks and mud, loosened by heavy rains, cascaded from the hilltops down to the slopes where the affected families reside. The landslides also damaged corn farms in the area.

Ortega said Gov. Mendoza and the Arakan LGU are now formulating plans on where to relocate the displaced villagers if geologists and engineers from the DENR find the hinterlands in Sitio Tinago no longer safe for occupation by peasant settlers.

Residents of Sitio Tinago rely mainly on upland and corn farming as main sources of income.

Gov. Mendoza had earlier ordered the provincial agriculturist to determine the feasibility of letting farmers in Sitio Tinago switch to livestock raising and other ventures in the lowlands in case they could no longer return to their enclaves that are prone to landslides.