40 families displaced by ‘Sendong’ in CDO evacuated due to landslide threat

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/25 January)– Mona Baring and her children fled to the relocation site in Barangay Calaanan this city right after their house in Cala-cala, Barangay Tibasak was swept by typhoon Sendong on December 16, 2011.

Baring thought that the worst was over, but disaster seems to follow her and 39 other families living in a row of bunkhouses at the relocation site in Barangay Calaanan City.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has, in fact, recommended to the city government the immediate evacuation of the 40 families or 200 persons living in the bunkhouses by the mountain for fear it would collapse.

Rex Monsanto, MGB Region 10 director, said their personnel found the mountain “is ready to slip” after the three weeks of rain triggered by tropical depression “Agaton.”

“We have recommended the immediate evacuation of the residents. The mountain is in danger of slipping if more rains will come,” Monsanto said.

Teddy Sabugaa, head of the Cagayan de Oro Social Welfare Department, said the local government heeded the DENR-MGB recommendation and has evacuated the families to a nearby school.

He said the city government has sent a team of engineers to the relocation site and found that the warning from DENR-MGB was true.

“We are now studying where we can relocate the affected families. We are hoping there are still available houses for typhoon Sendong victims,“ Sabugaa said.

Baring said most of the families relocated at the bunkhouses in November 2012 after spending almost a year living in tents after typhoon Sendong devastated Cagayan de Oro in December 2011.

She said they were not worried, at first, when they saw how close their houses are to the side of the mountain.

Baring’s kitchen and that of the rest are only a few inches from the mountain.

“The local government people at that time told us not to complain. They told us the bunkhouses were better than the life in tents,” Baring narrated.

Baring said they became worried when portions of the mountains would slip down every time it would rain.

During tropical depression “Agaton,” a portion of the mountain slipped and crashed into the sala of Jorlyn Borlino.

Borlino said although her family was lucky that it was just a minor slip, she said they are still worried.

Borlino said they are asking the local government to transfer them to another relocation site. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)