Rodrigo S. Victoria
TACLOBAN CITY (PIA) — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Eastern Visayas refuted in its report the claims that “open pit mining” in Biliran province is to be blamed for the landslides during the onslaught of Tropical Depression Urduja on December 16.
TD Urduja claimed some 42 lives and 14 others missing in Biliran province, the Biliran Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office report revealed.
The MGB 8 post geohazard assessment conducted by its geologists on December 28, 2017, revealed that it was not mining but rather other factors were identified to have contributed to the occurrence of landslides. The MGB 8 report was prepared by Information Officer Celeste Faith S. Dela Cruz and released on January 3, 2018.
Published news items from national dailies and tabloids reported, few days after the onslaught of TD Urduja in the province, that mining contributed to the occurrence of landsides.
The MGB 8 post geohazard assessment cited other factors and not mining like the intensely weathered, fractured and altered volcanic rocks clayey materials underlying the areas.
The assessment also cited that the continuous heavy rainfall brought by TD Urduja which loosened the topsoil with boulders and uprooted the trees.
The slope gradients of approximately more than 45% which is considered very high based on established MGB landslide susceptibility rating parameter is one factor that contributed to landslide, the report added.
Other factors that were identified by MGB 8 assessment include the presence of points of weaknesses along road cuts, riverbank portions and sloping mountainous areas; and the unstable grounds due to road development, farming, and poor drainage systems.
Moreover, the geologists who conducted the assessment have not come across any on-going or remnants of previous open pit mining or quarrying activities within the vicinities of the landslide areas that may have contributed to such occurrence of landslides, the report further stated.
The landslides, however, mostly occurred on vegetated areas where coconuts and fruit bearing trees are present, the report said.
MGB 8 thru OIC Regional Director Raul A. Laput, categorically emphasized the fact in the report that it has no record of any permit for mining issued in Biliran province.