Nearly 90 participants mostly municipal engineers and municipal planning and development coordinators in the Province of Bohol attended a two-day seminar-workshop on strengthening geohazards awareness, map appreciation and site investigation held recently in Tagbilaran City.

“The two-day event intends to conduct an information, education and communication campaign on geohazards, provide an assessment and review on the salient features or results of the assessment conducted in Bohol, demonstrate the appropriate appreciation of geohazards map based on the existing data, “ said Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo.

Alburo said the activity aims to undertake an actual field work and data plotting based on the coordinates and other information and capacitate the local government units (LGUs) in the conduct of site investigation.

Organized jointly by the Provincial Government of Bohol and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last March 20 to 21, 2014 in Tagbilaran City, the activity was an offshoot on the request of Bohol Governor Edgar M. Chatto to conduct a geohazards mapping and assessment on some 42,771 households and 650 school sites.

As part of the features of the training, the participants were made to analyze available geohazards maps and were exposed to actual geohazards areas in Maribojoc and Tagbilaran City for site assessment report (SAR) preparations.

An SAR is a document issued by the MGB outlining the physical features or attributes of a certain area or site and the geohazards such as landslides, flooding, sinkholes and the like present with recommended mitigating measures to be followed.  This document is signed by an MGB geologist with corresponding vulnerability rating such as low, moderate, high and very high.

Along this line, about 42,771 households and 650 school sites need to be assessed for reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts.

The resource persons with their respective topics were: Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Division-Visayas Chief Engr. Oscar Tabada on Rainfall Data and Meteorological Forecasts; Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology-Tagbilaran Seismic Station Officer-in-Charge Engr. Nolan Evangelista on Faultlines and Earthquakes and Self-Check for Earthquake Safety; MGB 7 chief geologist with geologist Claro Cebrian on the Results on the 1:10,000-scale Rain-induced landslides and flooding in the Province of Bohol; and Supervising Geologist Liza Manzano on Bohol Karst Terrain and Sinkholes.

“We are urgently addressing these requests as we try to help out the local chief executives of Bohol through their municipal engineers and planning and development coordinators for them to prepare a site assessment report on the geohazards particularly with a rating of low to moderate to expedite the reconstruction programs,” Alburo explained.

Some funding institutions, both public and private require an assessment study from MGB on the geohazards present before funds could be released in various shelter development programs in Bohol.

It could be recalled that the October 15, 2013 M7.2 earthquake killed 222, at least 209 in Bohol.  It damaged around P1.38 billion worth of projects, driving 71,822 families away from their homes and caused injuries in 976 persons.