18 houses to be relocated from ‘crackland’

Engr. Leilani Suerte of the MGB submits their findings to Moises Padilla Mayor Ella  Celestina D. Garcia Yulo.

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – An official of the Mines and Geo Sciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 6 said Monday that 18 houses have to be moved out of the “crackland” in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

Engineer Leilanie Suerte, MGB-6 supervising geologist, said the area must be declared as a high-risk/danger zone and no build zone.

Suerte submitted the MGB report to Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Celestina D. Garcia Yulo Monday morning during the Municipal  Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council meeting held at the town’s Evacuation Center.

The MGB released its findings after conducting a survey of the ground cracks discovered in Sitio Manaol in Moises Padilla town’s Barangay Quintin Remo, earlier in August.

Suerte said the ground cracks were part of the extent of a landslide that took place back in 2009.

The type of landslide in Sitio Manaol is called an “active creeping landslide.”

The landslide was estimated to have a length of 2.34 kilometers and an area of 0.97 square kilometers.

Suerte said the slow-moving landslide is unnoticeable on a daily basis since it only moves a few millimeters per day during dry conditions and a few centimeters to a meter during saturated conditions.

She warned that there is a possibility that the flow could be rapid when triggered by a strong earthquake.

She cited the Guihulngan landslides in Negros Oriental which were triggered by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 2012.

Suerte said they identified at least 18 houses and structures in the area of the moving mass.

The landslide in the area may further progress, especially if the nearby Tig-buaya Creek is struck by flashfloods during continuous heavy downpours or strong tremors.

Suerte said they passed a recommendation to the Municipal Government of Moises Padilla to declare the area as a “High Risk/Danger Zone and No Build Zone.”

She pointed out that no amount of engineering intervention could stop the slow-moving landslide.

All houses inside the danger zone would have to be relocated to a safer location, although using the land inside the danger zone for agricultural purposes can still be allowed, provided ample warning signs and notices should be placed.

Last month, Moises Padilla town Mayor Ella Garcia-Yulo invited both the MGB-6 and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) to conduct a survey of the ground cracks in Sitio Manaol.

The invitation came after local residents in the area reported seeing large cracks in the ground as well as soil erosion.