The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recommended the relocation of Manipis Elementary School as a long term measure to ensure the safety of the pupils and faculty members in Camp 6, Barangay Manipis, Talisay City, Cebu.

This developed after two boulders moved towards a bamboo-walled one-storey building for grade 3 classes with two classrooms.

The boulders that moved down have a dimension of 1.5 meters by 2 meters or similar to a car while others were smaller ones.

The school which has five buildings is located on a sloping ground with scattered limestone boulders which are part of an old landslide debris.

“The location of the school is within a high to very high landslide susceptibility rating as assessed by our chief geologist Al Emil Berador and senior geologist Josephine Aleta,” said MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo.

Alburo said the relocation of the school is the most appropriate measure as he urged the local government unit of Talisay City and the Department of Education to establish slope stabilization programs by removing the boulders which pose hazard to the pupils and the teachers.

The school has more than 300 pupils from kindergarten to grade 6 including faculty members.  Nearby the damaged building for grade 3 classes is also a one-storey building for grade 1 classes.  The holding of classes on two buildings was suspended yesterday.

Berador said there are some sections already manifested a movement and these limestone boulders on higher slopes could be mobilized by strong ground shaking during an earthquake or after days of heavy rainfall.

The MGB 7 issued a landslide threat advisory and received by Barangay Manipis Barangay Captain Emma Cabiluna with five recommendations last August 4.  The recommendations are the following: observe and monitor the presence of mass movement and report to authorities; observe for saturated ground or seeps and sunken displaced road surfaces; conduct a pre-emptive evacuation during heavy rains; develop early warning system; and communicate constantly and provide updates with the barangay officials.

“Slope saturation by water is a primary cause of landslides and it can occur in the form of intense rainfall particularly if it comes for more than two days,” Alburo added.

In an interview with some residents in the area, they experienced heavy rains for more than three days.

“It is strongly advised to all communities particularly those who are living near the foot of the mountain and other critical areas to be at all times vigilant and cautious as landslide occurs without warning,” he added.

Alburo added there are several sections along the Manipis road which are highly prone to landslides or rock fall adding extreme caution should always be exercised.

In a related development, the MGB 7 recommended to the Principal of the Don Emilio Canonigo Memorial National High School in Barangay Pangdan, Naga City, Cebu to resume the classes as the slope near to the school has been stabilized.  The classes were suspended last July 31.

It could be recalled that Apo Cement Corporation helped in the earthmoving activities to remove or topple down unstable slope materials by providing one backhoe and one bulldozer.