By ALLEN V. ESTABILLO
GENERAL SANTOS City– The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 has stepped up its awareness campaign on various geohazards as it moves to prevent the occurrence of possible major disasters in the area in wake of the continuing rainy season.
Constancio Paye Jr., MGB Region 12 director, said Monday they have been conducting information and education activities in barangays in the region that are considered highly prone to landslides and severe flooding.
He said the initiative involves lectures on geohazards and other related topics spearheaded by technical personnel of the agency’s geology division, he said.
“We’re mainly emphasizing the importance of the geohazard maps to our local leaders to enhance their capabilities in preventing potential disasters,” he said in a statement.
He said they started the initiative last month in 89 priority barangays in South Cotabato province.
These barangays are located in Koronadal City and in the municipalities of Banga, Surallah, Tantangan, Norala, Sto.Niño, Tupi and Polomolok.
Jaime Flores, MGB-12’s chief geologist, said they reiterated to barangay and community leaders the proper use of the geohazard maps, especially in the identification of relocation sites or evacuation areas.
He said they reminded barangay officials to make sure that their barangay disaster risk reduction and management committee are activated and fully functioning.
“We explained during our presentations the important aspects of natural hazards like landslides, flooding and earthquake, their different manifestations and characteristics,” he said.
Flores said also gave advisories to areas that had been identified as high risk to landslides and flooding.
MGB-12 had completed the distribution of detailed geohazard maps to the region’s provinces, cities and municipalities.
The agency is currently distributing copies of the maps to all barangays within the region, which comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Three years ago, the MGB-12 completed the region’s initial geohazard mapping program at a scale of 1:50,000.
The agency conducted another geohazard mapping of the entire region at the more detailed 1:10,000 scale.
Based on the mapping, MGB-12 identified at least 340 villages in the region as prone to severe flooding during the rainy season.
It said 179 villages in North Cotabato and Cotabato City, 72 in Sultan Kudarat, 69 in South Cotabato and 20 in Sarangani are considered as flood-prone and “inhabitable during flooding.”(pna)