Koronadal eyes relocation site for residents in danger zones

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/4 November)– The city government is planning to develop a 2.4-hectare resettlement area for local residents situated in calamity danger zones and those who were displaced by the recent floods and landslides that hit the area.

Mayor Peter Miguel said he has commissioned a team composed of city government personnel to identify and assess the potential sites within the city for the proposed resettlement project, which would be developed by next year.

The mayor said the team, which includes local environmental planners, is presently studying several areas that it initially found viable for the project.

He said the team’s recommendation will serve as basis for the acquisition or purchase later on of the relocation site.

“The evaluation process is quite tedious as we want to have a relocation area that is free from possible disasters like floods and landslides,” Miguel said in a radio interview.

The mayor said the project’s target beneficiaries are residents who are settled in identified flood and landslide-prone areas.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau had identified communities situated along the banks of the area’s major waterways — Marbel River and Bulok Creek — as prone to heavy flooding.

Upland areas in portions of barangays Saravia and Assumption were also identified by the agency as prone to landslides.

In July, eight villages in the city that are traversed by Marbel River and Bulok Creek were swept by flashfloods due to the swelling of the two waterways following hours of heavy rains.

Last week, around a dozen houses were damaged after flashfloods ravaged portions of barangays Zone III and Paraiso.

Some 31 families in Barangay Assumption were also forced to evacuate following a series of landslides in the area.

Aside from the development of a relocation area, Miguel said they are planning to beef up next year its pool of heavy equipment to facilitate the proper implementation of its disaster mitigation and response initiatives.

“We will set aside some equipment that will only be used during calamities so our regular infrastructure works will not be hampered,” he said.

Presently, the mayor said the city government has no working heavy equipment and is just leasing some units from private construction companies.

He said their backhoes and bulldozers, which are critical in times of disasters, are defective and needs to undergo major repairs.

Miguel added that the city government has been spending as much as P5,000 per hour for the rental of some heavy equipment. (MindaNews)