LGU sets demolition of 720 houses in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2018   •   2440


Landslide-prone area in the municipality of Itogon, Benguet

BENGUET, Philippines – Members of the Philippines National Police (PNP) are closely monitoring the areas identified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as inhabitable in the municipality of Itogon due to the risk of landslides.

Authorities are also strictly screening residents entering Barangay Loacan. They are required to log in and log out when going in and out of the area to properly account residents.

Meanwhile, Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon, Benguet, around 720 houses and shanties are now ready for demolition in 10 high-risk areas.

Some residents voluntarily demolished their houses to spare some materials which they can recycle such as roofs and woods.

Miners decided to leave the stockpile of mineral ores in their shanties as they deemed it unnecessary to bring them at this time of calamity.

Relief goods are now being distributed in evacuation centers for families who left their homes ahead of Typhoon Rosita. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

Fatal landslide in Brgy. Runruno, N. Vizcaya caused by severe weather, not mining – MGB

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ruled out mining activity as the cause of the landslide that occurred in Brgy. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya on November 11 during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

In a press release Thursday (November 26), MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta, “the fatal landslide was triggered by the inclement weather conditions resulting in ground saturation and eventual landslide and not due to small scale mining activity as earlier reported.”

Geologists and technical personnel from MGB Region 2 were sent to conduct a site inspection at the landslide areas where ten individuals were killed, including a two-month old baby and leaving two others injured.

Ancheta added that residents were already recommended for relocation based on a geohazard assessment result conducted by the MGB on September 18, showing that Sitios Bit-ang, Balcony, Compound, and Kinalabasa are highly or critically susceptible to natural hazards.

“The result of the assessment was presented to the community including the residents of sitio Bit-ang, Compound, Balcony, and Kinalabasa,” Ancheta said.

After the incident, the official stressed that “evacuation of the illegal settlers within the landslide prone areas should be strictly implemented.” MNP / Raymund David

200 miners and families locked down inside bunkhouse in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 27, 2020

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.

According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease. 

“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said. 

All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.

While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.

On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.

Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.

Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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LGU suspends classes in 8 schools in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 17, 2018

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines – Classes have been suspended since last week for at least 2,000 elementary and high school students in the town of Itogon.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan ordered the suspension of eight schools in the municipality starting October 10.

This is because the said schools sit on areas which the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) declared as high risk.

“Nakakatakot because ang statement ng MGB-Manila sabi nila because saturated na ang soil, anytime babagsak ang mga eskwelahan na ito,” said Mayor Palangdan.

The local government cannot tell yet as to when they will order the resumption of classes as they have not identified a permanent relocation site for the students.

The LGU and the Department of Education (DepEd) are also awaiting the result of the re-assessment conducted by the MGB as to which schools are still safe for use or recommended for abandonment.

For now, the LGU is preparing learning tent centers as temporary classrooms. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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