BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) passed a joint resolution approving the request of the Itogon municipal council for the region’s policy-making body to facilitate a thorough geological assessment and evaluation for the said municipality after the Supertyphoon Ompong heavily ravaged the mineral-rich town of Benguet.
Earlier, the Itogon municipal council passed Resolution No. 427, series of 2018 requesting the RDC-CAR to help the municipality facilitate the conduct of a geological assessment and evaluation of areas declared by the Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) as critical area with no build zones within the municipality.
The sectoral committee on development administration in its 4th quarter meeting last December 11, 2018 approved to endorse the aforesaid resolution to the RDC-CAR for appropriate action.
The joint resolution noted the Cordillera Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) also identified several evacuation centers of Itogon that are within the high susceptible to hazards status and are highly recommended for immediate relocation.
Previously, the MGB-CAR identified 6 elementary schools and a national high school building that are highly susceptible to hazards as they are allegedly built on unstable grounds.
Further, the MGB-CAR identified as unsafe, uninhabitable and are within the no build zones portions of Luneta, Simot-simot, Columbia and Forty Raise, all within barangay Loacan, First Gate, Otek and L-070, all within barangay Ucab; Tipong at barangay Ampucao and Surong 2 at barangay Gumatdang.
Itogon was one of the hardest hit places during Supertyphoon Ompong and suffered a major landslide in the small-scale mining community of barangay Ucab with the biggest number of casualties, displaced persons and families, mostly small-scale miners.
The resolution stated the CDRRMC recommended for the declaration of the no-build zones, suspension of classes in schools identified as highly susceptible to hazards and relocation of evacuation centers to safer locations.
Itogon views the CDRRMC recommendations as tantamount to declaring the whole municipality as a no-build zone due to its high susceptibility to hazards and making it difficult for the municipal government to extend basic services to its people and facilitate the repair the infrastructures destroyed by Supertyphoon Ompong.
The RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR created a technical working group (TWG) with representatives from the regional offices of the Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG-CAR), Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH-CAR), MGB-CAR, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), Office of the Civil Defense (OCD-CAR), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA-CAR), Itogon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, chair of the Committee on Environment of the Itogon Municipal Council, RDC-Car private sector representative for the sectoral committee on environment and watershed, academe and other interested stakeholders to help in the conduct of the proposed assessment. By Dexter A. See