Relocation of residents pushed due to ground cracks in South Cotabato village

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 October) – The provincial government of South Cotabato is pushing for the immediate relocation of at least 50 families in a remote sitio in Lake Sebu town who evacuated early this month due to the emergence of ground tension cracks in the area.

T’boli villagers in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. MindaNews file photo

Rolly Doane Aquino, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said Friday they are closely working with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-Region 12 for the identification of the relocation site for the affected residents of Sitio Tuburan, Barangay Ned.

He said the barangay council had recommended several proposed relocation areas but these were not approved by MGB-12 due to the possible hazards.

“Our top priority right now is to permanently relocate the affected families and we already allotted some funds for that,” he said in a media forum.

Aquino said the local government needs proper certification from MGB-12 before it can push through with the relocation.

He said the previous relocation sites identified by the barangay did not pass the agency’s evaluation due to the presence of sink holes and coal deposits.

The presence of the coal deposits reportedly prevented the inner portion of the soil to absorb rainwater, triggering landslides and the emergence of tension cracks, he said.

Aquino, who inspected the site several times since the fresh evacuation of residents last Oct. 6, said it affected residential areas, a school, farmlands and portions of the national road traversing the village.

The official said the evacuees are currently staying in a temporary relocation area in Sitio Tuburan and already received relief assistance from the provincial government.

He said they are set to send some construction materials to facilitate the establishment of temporary shelter for them.

Aquino said the Integrated Provincial Health Office recently sent mosquito nets and related supplies to protect the evacuees from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, malaria and filariasis.

He said they have coordinated with the Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 12 for the repair of the damaged portions of the national road in the area due to the tension cracks and landslides. (MindaNews)