Residents fear hillside developments may put them at risk of death

Two major private developers, Crown Communities Subdivision and the DM Consunji-UPDI, are in the initial stages of development along the Ma-a ridge.
“Contributing risk factors of greater rainfalls associated with climate change, potential for earthquake, nature of soil and collapse of underground voids or spaces and monsoon run-off, are all intertwined,” says Willie Mosqueda, consultant to Ma-a Federation of Home Owner Associations.  “They cannot be evaluated individually in isolation.”
“These factors can all easily occur at the same moment.  When you consider building on a hillside with an overall slope of 18 percent or greater and with substructure and soil of the nature here, it will be extremely expensive and difficult to control mass movement over time, if at all.
“Where people's lives are at stake, ‘worst case’ scenario planning and decision-making must be implemented.  It is not enough to say, merely for example, that it was the dream of the developer's chairman and founder that a beautiful high-end subdivision be placed there.  The key consideration is the risk of death and injury to residents.  Landslides can certainly happen here,” Mosqueda said.
Norma Javellana, Trinidad Greenhills President and member of the Environmental Watch Committee of the Federation, says that “at-risk home owners  in Ma-a will not forget the 150 meter hill above their heads. Nor will they forget the lower reaches of the hill are subject to landslide and mass-movement from above.
“Unusually wet weather has been happening for the past two weeks, giving a preview of the monsoon season ahead.  We hope nothing will happen to the families living below the shredded and denuded Ma-a hillside,” she says.
Jimmy Olegario, Chairman of the Environmental Watch Committee and Ma-a St. Michael Village president, says that “to encourage development and quality of life issues, Davao City must continue its record of being one of the safest cities in the Philippines.
“Safety is not only freedom from crime and terrorism,” he continued.  “It is also a product of a safe environment based on responsible subdivision placement and construction.  Our slogan should be ‘Davao City, a Wonderful Place to Live, Shop, and Grow.’ It's all part of the package that present and future overseas Filipino workers and other residents from all over the world will consider.  Safety, security, and opportunity are the real key to our growth.” (MFHOA)