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MGB: Loosened Arayat rocks threaten 2 towns

/ 05:16 AM June 01, 2019

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Close to 50,000 truckloads of rocks are strewn along creeks draining from Mt. Arayat and 22,000 of these might be loosened by intense rains, a Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) official warned.

Noel Lacadin, MGB chief geologist in Central Luzon gave the projection to reiterate an advisory on rockslides hitting communities in Arayat and Magalang towns in Pampanga province this rainy season.

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“These rocks are ready to go down,” Lacadin said in a meeting with provincial government officials on Monday.

The active channels are creeks that local folk call Maeyagas, Takwi, Madalumdum and Oliva.

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The rows of sandbags placed last year to slow down the descent of water and rocks had been eroded and needed to be replaced, Lacadin said.

Takwi, on the side of Magalang town, was where a policeman died in 2013 due to rockslides.

More than 5,000 residents at Purok 6 and 7 in Barangay San Juan Baño are in direct path of harm’s way and had been declared under “state of imminent danger.”

During typhoons, they have been advised to move to an evacuation center built in 2014 by the Pampanga Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) behind the town hall, according to Angelina Blanco, PDRRMC Office executive director.

The office of Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, provincial government and the National Housing Authority have built a relocation site for families displaced by Typhoon “Ondoy” in 2009. The landslides then killed 12 people.

Engineering solutions to hold back the rocks or retrieve these have not been done by the Department of Public Works and Highways, local officials said. —TONETTE OREJAS

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