In Cebu, ground cracks appear in village hit by slide in 2018
CEBU CITY — Ground cracks have appeared in a village in the City of Naga in southern Cebu, the same area where 78 people were killed when a massive landslide buried at least 50 houses five years ago.
Wanting to avoid a repeat of the 2018 tragedy, Mayor Valdemar Chiong asked concerned government agencies, especially the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), to inspect the area and to implement proper intervention to avert another disaster.
According to the local government, around 40 residents were affected by the ground cracks which were discovered on Sept. 30 at Sitio Riverside Purok 1-B Upper and 1-A Lower in the mountain village of Cantao-an.
Residents blamed the soil erosion to the DPWH’s ongoing road project that cuts across the mountains of the City of Naga to Danao City in northern Cebu, which are 67 kilometers apart.
Cantao-an village chief Christina Ababa said at least 28 residents had already received relocation payments from the DPWH while 24 families remained in the project site.
Ababa said the village had prepared its covered court as an evacuation center for affected families. They were also looking for another evacuation site to accommodate more people.
Chiong said some affected families have signed a waiver because they did not want to leave their homes.
City Administrator Arthur Villamor, also the officer in charge of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro), said he ordered the DPWH on Wednesday to hasten its rehabilitation works to address the cracks in Cantao-an.
He also urged DPWH to look after the residents’ needs and find a safe place where they could relocate.
“The local government of Naga has been on top of the situation at the moment because the incident happened here. But at the end of the day, they (DWPH and the contractor) have to look into the plight of the affected families because that is their project,” Villamor told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
He said authorities had yet to determine what caused the cracks on the ground of Cantao-an.
“We don’t have any definite answer for now. Most likely, it has something to do with their (DPWH) work. But unless we have results of an in-depth investigation, we could not pinpoint a particular cause,” Villamor said.
Cris Tapinit, a resident, posted photos of the cracks and appealed to government agencies for help.
“These cracks are tough to live with, especially that it has been raining in the past days. I hope the government will help us and act on it right away,” he said in Cebuano.
Rosena Candol, 80, is worried about their safety.
“Another tragedy might happen similar to the one that occurred in September 2018 when over 70 people died after being buried by a landslide that was reportedly caused by quarry operations in Barangay Tina-an,” she said in a radio interview.
The landslide on Sept. 28, 2018, killed 78 people and displaced 1,947 families, or more than 8,000 residents.