Residents blame EDC for Manito landslide; Albay gov urges MGB probe

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

Landslide site at Brgy Nogotgot,Sitio Inang Maharang, Manito, Albay. Photo courtesy of Albay PDRRMC

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

LEGAZPI CITY, 22Jan2015 — Albay Governor Joey Salceda has asked the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office to investigate the landslide incident in Manito town after its victims blamed the Energy Development Corp, (EDC) as responsible for its occurrence on Sunday morning.

The villagers of Sitio Inang Maharang, Barangay Nagotgot in Manito, Albay, have blamed the EDC for the avalanche that left them homeless and currently at ground zero after tropical storm “Amang” hit the Bicol Region.

A major earth avalanche rolled about two kilometers down the 400-meter high mountain where the geothermal operation of EDC is located.

The landslide affected 92 families or 344 people and buried or totally damaged 15 houses.

Mayor Caesar S. Daet of Manito said the landslide victims will be relocated to a safe area.

On Tuesday, the furious landslide victims of Sitio Inang Maharang staged a protest action and barricaded the village road, preventing the employees and vehicles of EDC to enter and pass through the area.

This was the first time that mudslide victims staged a protest against the private company that they blamed for the occurrence of a major landslide.

To prevent possible untoward incident, Salceda asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help pacify the enraged landslide victims.

He also asked the MGB to conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the landslide and whether the EDC’s on-going exploration within the geothermal field had triggered it.

“We’re asking Arlene Dayao of MGB-Bicol to conduct an investigation on the incident before coming up with necessary solutions since the MGB is the authority. Then we will discuss the findings and make solutions,” Salceda said.

He also directed Daep to talk with the victims about their problems and the Provincial Social Welfare Office to ensure food supply.

In a report to Salceda, Arnold Calsiña, Manito municipal disaster operation officer,there are 92 families or 344 persons totally affected as their houses were totally destroyed by the mudslide while 90 hectares of ricefields were destroyed including 75 hectares of vegetable plantations, and 15 houses, three carabaos, two gilts and one sow were buried.

Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), said “Manito is one of the landslide-prone towns in Albay with historic and rhetoric landslide occurrences since time immemorial.”

Tropical storm Amang battered the Bicol Region on Sunday, specifically Albay province, with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph associated with heavy downpour or above average precipitation, Daep said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Daep convened officials of of the MGB, PNP, Department of Education and the PSWDO to come up with necessary actions to resolve the ongoing disaster problem in Manito.

As agreed upon during the emergency meeting here called by Daep, the DepEd and the Provincial Engineering Office led by engineer Dante Baclao will bring and put up at least four tents from the United Nations Children Fund in Manito to be used as temporary classrooms and evacuation center of homeless landslide victims.

Meanwhile, the PSWDO will provide food relief to all affected families, including those families whose rice and vegetable plantations were destroyed by the earth avalanche from the mountain within the EDC’s geothermal field.

Supt. Marlou Meneses, PNP-Albay provincial director, immediately sent his men to help pacify the ongoing commotion in the area.

Meneses said the people’s emotion is high and natural as they were left homeless and back to square one without a source of livelihood or income as their main source of living has been destroyed.

“So far, everything is in order. The barricade was removed, allowing EDC employees and their vehicles to pass through their road going to the geothermal field,” Meneses said.

The MGB-Bicol will seek clearance from the EDC for its personnel to enter the area for the ground evaluation.

Earlier, disaster officials here and the MGB conducted an aerial survey through Philippine Air Force helicopters to determine the extent of damages brought by Amang. (PNA)

Posted by on January 22, 2015. Filed under Bicol News,Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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