GenSan wants to relocate residents living near eroded coastline

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 18 Feb) – The city government is pushing for the immediate relocation of residents settled near the shores of a coastal village here following a suspected coastal erosion in the area last Sunday.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Wednesday they are currently working on the clearing of residents along a critical stretch of the shoreline in Barangay Dadiangas South due to dangers posed by a potentially-massive coastal erosion.

He specifically cited portions of Puroks Islam and Tinago in the said village where a huge shoreline opening, which was initially believed to be a sinkhole, emerged early Sunday.

The local government earlier ordered the forced evacuation of 46 households that were situated near the affected area that was initially ruled by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 as a possible case of coastal erosion.

Citing the MGB’s assessment, the mayor said the area’s shorelines are considered as high-risk or danger zones and should be cleared of any dwelling and other structures.

“Basically, the area is highly dangerous and there’s a possibility that the eroded area could still expand,” he said.

He said the MGB report noted that similar erosions could happen anytime within the area and that they could even be more massive and advance towards the nearest main road, specifically the P. Acharon Boulevard.

Roger Tamayo, MGB-12 mining engineer, said their assessment showed that the huge hole that developed at the shores of Purok Tinago could have been caused by the degeneration of coralline limestones situated underneath the area’s shoreline.

He said the breakdown of the limestones triggered the erosion of its sand covering that eventually appeared liked that of a sinkhole.

The shoreline opening, which was initially estimated at around 40 meters in diameter, could not be considered a sinkhole as there was no “igniter” like an earthquake that happened before it emerged.

The affected area is located near the pier and anchorage area of motorboats ferrying passengers and cargo to and from this city and Balut Island in Davao Occidental.

It is adjacent to the city’s Queen Tuna Park and several commercial establishments, including a hotel and a gasoline station, as well as a crowded residential community.

Rivera said he has directed the City Housing and Land Management Office (CHLMO) and the City Social Welfare and Development Office to draw out a plan for the relocation of the affected residents.

He said the CHLMO initially launched a mapping of the area’s households on Tuesday as part of the move.

Mary Ann Bacar, CHLMO chief, said the planned forced evacuation will affect residents situated in Puroks 9-A and 9-B of Tinago and Purok Islam.

She estimated that around 1,000 households are presently settled in these areas.

Bacar said they will present the evacuation and relocation plans on Friday in a consultative meeting with the affected households called by the city government.