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40 Bicol towns identified as geo-hazard areas

By Media Solutions
LEGASPI CITY, Philippines – Forty municipalities in Bicol Region are highly susceptible to natural disasters with the provinces of Camarines Sur and Catanduanes being on top of the lists, the Mines and Geo-sciences Bureau office here revealed.
Of the number, 26 municipalities are high risk for flooding while 14 towns are highly susceptible to landslides.
Luis Loyola, MGB regional director, said these areas were identified following the completion of the 50,000-scale Bicol geo-hazard mapping done by his office under the Geohazard Mapping and Assessment Project (GMAP)
A more detailed 10,000-scale map is now being undertaken with the province of Albay as the primary focus, he said.
Arlene Dayao, supervising geologist and head of the Geosciences Division, said geo-hazard maps had been distributed to LGUs, including barangay officials since they are the ones on the front lines.
“We have already informed the local government units of these hazard areas and MBG had conducted series of seminars to explain the details of our findings,” she said in an interview with Media Solutions.
Dayao said it was crucial that local officials of these hazard areas consider the data contained in the maps in coming up with their disaster-risk reduction plans as well as their land use maps to avoid disasters that might hit vulnerable areas.
Local officials should no longer allow human habitation on areas that had been identified as high-risk for flooding and landslides, she stressed.
Based on the geo-hazard mapping conducted by the MGB, almost half of Camarines Sur’s municipalities are classified as high risk areas for flooding, which include the towns of Baao, Bato, Bombon, Buhi, Bula, Cabusao, Calabanga, Camaligan, Canaman, Gainza, Libmanan, Magarao, Milaor, Minalabac, Nabua and San Fernando which are mostly part of the Bicol River Basin.
Dayao said the Bato- Baao areas serve as catch basin of flood waters from Albay before it flow north up to Naga City and San Fernando.
Three towns in Albay- Libon, Oas and Polangui are also classified as flood-prone areas together with the municipalities of Bato and Viga in Catanduanes, Juban in Sorsogon, Mercedez, Talisay and Vinzons in Camarines Norte.
The cities of Legazpi, Tabaco and Naga were classified as moderately susceptible to floodings.
Meanwhile, Catanduanes has been identified as the most landslide-prone province in the region based on the same study conducted by MGB.
“Mainly it’s because rock formations in that province are already old and cracked and many of its mountains are covered with thick soil which erode during heavy rains” Dayao explained.
She also attributed the hazard to the past commercial logging activities that occurred in Catanduanes wherein illegal cutting of trees still happens until now.
Dayao identified the towns of Caramoran, Gigmoto, San Andres and Viga as the most flood-prone together with Manito, Sto Domingo and Tiwi in Albay, Capalonga and Labo in Camarines Norte, Pasacao and Sangay in Camarines Sur, Baleno in Masbate and Juban and Magallanes in Sorsogon province.
The cities of Ligao and Sorsogon were listed as moderately prone to landslides.
Aside from the flooding and landslides, Dayao also warned of another geohazard especially in the province of Sorsogon.
The MGB official said ground subsidence or sink holes are observed in at least three areas in the province, the towns of Gubat and Prieto-Diaz, in the district of Bacon in Sorsogon City and in Guinobatan, Albay.
She said sink hole, which vary in depths, usually occurs when lime stones underground are dissolved and carried away by underground water or when the roof of an underground cave collapses.
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