Residents of 3 Davao del Sur towns told to evacuate due to landslide risk

DAVAO CITY – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Davao Region asked local officials in at least 3 Davao del Sur towns to immediately conduct preventive evacuations in several villages and to relocate them to safer areas.

Beverly Mae Brebante, MGB 11 Geosciences Division officer-in-charge, said they conducted inspections and saw tension cracks and landslides that could threaten the safety of residents of upland areas in Bansalan, Magsaysay, and Kiblawan towns.

She said they had categorized the risks as low, moderate, or high, but villages where ground fissures were present were categorized as “very high risk.”

“If possible, the LGUs (local government units) concerned should declare areas where fissures are found as no-build zones. If there are fissures, the ground is unstable,” Brebante said.

She said even if the fissures would heal overtime, the danger would still be there.

“Once there is movement [due to earthquake], it will resurface and will even progress. The instability of an area would become worse,” Brebante added. 

In Bansalan, fissures were found in barangays Altavista, Anonang, and Managa.

In Barangay Altavista alone, 4 communities were being threatened by landslides because of these fissures.

“There are still residents in these critical areas. Definitely, we recommend for their immediate evacuation,” she said.

In Barangay Anonang, the fissure was seen on the steep slopes on the side of the Miral River in Sitio Malupo. 

Brebante said the village chair reported that some residents had not left their areas yet.

In Barangay Managa, Brebante said they recommended that the view deck at Purok Pananag B would be cordoned off to prevent civilians from entering the affected area. She said Purok Pluto is also highly susceptible to landslide, while the highway leading to Barangay Kapatagan was also affected by fissures.

In Magsaysay town, Brebante said fissures and landslides also affected barangays Upper Bala, New Opon, Kanapolo, and Tagaytay.

She clarified that the tension cracks were there long before the October 16 earthquake, but it got worse after the tremor.

In Kiblawan, Brebante said the affected barangays are Kimlawis and San Jose.

She said, even prior to the series of quakes, the MGB had recommended the entire Kimlawis area as critical and should not be inhabited.

“But they (residents) are still there. The old cracks have become deeper and larger so we reiterated that they should evacuate, immediately,” she said. –