APO earmarks P47.1 million for hazard reduction plan
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - November 30, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Apo Land and Quarry Corporation (ALQC) in Naga City faces another financial challenge.

 

The firm has to earmark P47.1 million as estimate budget for the implementation of the initial works stipulated under the approved Hazard Reduction Plan.

Chito Maniago, the firm’s representative, projected that the cost for the initial works may reach P50 million while the entirety of the plan may need around P150 million.

“For sure we will allocate money… no matter how difficult the situation is right now,” he said during a press briefing on Thursday.

In a presentation, Engr. Gery Rota, plant director of APO Cement Corporation, said the initial works comprise of three components: (1) construction of safety wall at Sitio Sindulan; (2) dredging of the choked portion of Pangdan River; and (3) establishment of drainage at the landslide area.

These works, which may take almost six months to complete, had been identified as the “critical areas for urgent execution.”

Rota said a safety wall has to be built at the periphery of the landslide area at Sitio Sindulan to avoid possible risks of mudslide especially during heavy rains.

He said expenses for the construction may reach P21 million: P9.5 million for the ground preparation and P11.5 million for the building of the wall.

Rota said workers also have to clear the debris that is blocking the Pangdan River, where a part of the eroded mountain fell into a portion of it, while they also have to stabilize the slope.

The restoration of Pangdan River, he said, may  need P21.4 million.

And lastly, he said putting up a drainage system at the landslide area may prevent mudflows and allow rainwater to drain at a low-lying water catchment. Budget is set at P4.7 million.

Rota, however, said there are many other works that have to be done such as the rehabilitation and reforestation of the landslide area.

Spending a huge amount may be critical for the firm at this time since it is currently experiencing financial crisis after its quarry operations in Naga are being suspended.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu himself ordered verbally the suspension of all large-scale quarry activities in Central Visayas on September 21, a day after a deadly landslide hit Barangay Tina-an – a host community of the ALQC.

Until now, ALQC’s suspension remains while others had been lifted.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) also laid a task to ALQC – to draft a proposal of the Hazard Reduction Plan and to execute it.

The plan lays down the mitigating measures to be undertaken at the landslide-stricken area to prevent potential hazards from causing more damage.

But it took time to finalize the plan as it underwent thorough scientific research, numerous consultations with state and international experts, and several reviews and revisions before the approval of DENR came.

Maniago said the ALQC executives assured to comply with the directives of the DENR officials.

He said the firm will continue to appeal to Cimatu for it to provide for the cost of the implementation of the plan and at the same time to sustain its business operations where many of its employees rely to.

The firm decided to let go of more than 300 regular and casual employees due to its financial situation right now.

Moreover, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB-Region 7) is eyeing at creating a joint monitoring team for the implementation of the Hazard Reduction Plan.

Engr. Raul Laput, chief of the Mine Management Division of  MGB-7, said the office's regional director has instructed them that a multi-sector body has to be formed for the regular monitoring making sure that the actual implementation is in accordance to the plan.

He said the team may be composed of the representatives from ALQC, MGB-7, DENR-7, and the Environmental Management Bureau-Region 7. He said personnel from the disaster units of the Naga City government and Cebu provincial government may also form part of the team.

"If naay makita nga dili mao then i-correct dayon," he said.

Meanwhile, many are wondering if displaced families in Naga would remain at the evacuation centers until Christmas Day.

The local government unit apparently has to depend upon the decision of the DENR higher officials.

Naga City Mayor Kristine Chiong said on Tuesday that a team of experts conducted another assessment last week - the third of DENR's survey.

With this, she said there may be revisions or amendments to the earlier DENR report, particularly on the delineation of the critical zone.

She said the scientific surveys are subsequently being reviewed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

After the tedious and long processes, the city mayor said the DENR may already release the final and “harmonized” report. What the city mayor looks forward in the report is the recommendation of DENR whether some of the affected families far from the landslide area may already return to their homes.

Chiong said, while the results are still unavailable, the evacuees may have to stay at their temporarily shelter or homes.

Several families fled from their houses and are staying at the schools or covered courts until now following the tragedy on September 20. — MBG (FREEMAN)

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