Classes in Ito­gon landslide risk ar­eas sus­pended

Sun.Star Baguio - - Top Stories -

THE MU­NIC­I­PAL govern­ment of Ito­gon has sus­pended classes in five schools iden­ti­fied to be on grounds sus­cep­ti­ble to land­slides.

Mayor Vic­to­rio Palang­dan de­clared the sus­pen­sion on Wed­nes­day dur­ing a meet­ing with the Cordillera Disas­ter Risk Re­duc­tion Man­age­ment Coun­cil (CDRRMC), fol­low­ing the lat­est re­port of the Mines and Geo­sciences Bu­reau (MGB) on the dan­gers posed by the un­sta­ble grounds.

The sus­pen­sion takes ef­fect Oct. 10 to 12, ap­par­ently as a pre­ven­tive mea­sure against an­other pos­si­ble disas­ter.

Scores of peo­ple died in a mas­sive landslide in a min­ing vil­lage in Ito­gon town at the height of Ty­phoon Om­pong in mid-Septem­ber.

“Based on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the MGB, the mayor has is­sued a di­rec­tive sus­pend­ing classes in the five schools for the safety of the stu­dents,” MGB ge­ol­o­gist Kelvin Gaer­lan said in an­other spe­cial meet­ing with mem­bers of the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil that is re­spon­si­ble for look­ing af­ter the min­ing town's eco­nomic state.

Classes in Ucab El­e­men­tary School, Man­ganese El­e­men­tary School, Loa­can High School, Am­pu­cao El­e­men­tary School, and Am­pu­cao High School have been sus­pended un­til Fri­day be­cause of ten­sion cracks found in the school grounds.

At the exit con­fer­ence of the CRDRRMC on the Ito­gon landslide tragedy last week, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources in Cordillera (DENR-CAR) said based on Ground Pen­e­trat­ing Radar (GPR) and Drone Radar map­ping con­ducted, the said schools were found to be highly sus­cep­ti­ble to land­slides.

In its re­port, the DENR rec­om­mended the im­me­di­ate re­lo­ca­tion of the schools to pre­vent a re­peat of the landslide in Si­tio First Gate at Ucab, Ito­gon that killed scores of peo­ple at the height of Ty­phoon Om­pong last month.

Based on the radar mon­i­tor­ing con­ducted

af­ter the ty­phoon, pro­gress­ing ten­sion cracks are found on the schools' grounds and on the moun­tain, aside from bulging slopes and seep­age and heav­ing in the schools' con­crete struc­tures.

The heads of the five schools were in a meet­ing as of this post­ing, on how to dis­trib­ute the stu­dents, aside from pos­si­bly set­ting up a learn­ing shel­ter at the Ito­gon Train­ing Cen­ter to avoid dis­rup­tion of their stud­ies.

Based on the up­dated geo­haz­ard map­ping of the DENR on Ito­gon town, aside from the iden­ti­fied geo­haz­ard zones ear­lier mapped, there are other ar­eas iden­ti­fied as even more crit­i­cal than the geo­haz­ard zones be­cause of un­der­ground voids and un­sta­ble grounds.

Photo by Jean Ni­cole Cortes

FOR SALE. A rel­a­tive of an Om­pong vic­tim helps sell beaded key­chains and other items made by dis­placed fam­ily of min­ers at her store along Diego Si­lang Street in Baguio City.

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