Two sitios in Barangay Agsungot in Cebu City were categorized or rated as high susceptibility to landslides in a 1:10,000-scale geohazard assessment and mapping.

Conducted by a four-member team from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7, these are Lower Agsungot and Lintuwang.

The landslides could be attributed to the porous type of soil which became oversaturated given the amount or magnitude of rain that dumped due to Typhoon Labuyo, and the areas which are mostly steep or vertical in slope.

Landslides occur when there is intense or prolonged precipitation and ground movement like earthquake.

“Geohazards mapping is one of the priority programs of President Aquino and DENR Secretary Ramon JP Paje as identified in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) which aims at reducing, if not, totally mitigating, the damaging effects and impacts of natural hazards such as landslides and flooding to the communities, “ said DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo.

“Our assessment on certain sitios in Barangay Agsungot confirmed our previous appraisal in 2009 in a scale of 1:50,000 on areas vulnerable to ground subsidence or landslides,” said MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo.

The results of the investigation which was conducted by chief geologist Jessica Lucero, and senior geologists Maria Elena Lupo and Josephine Aleta with geologic aide Remegio Colonia Jr last September 12, 2012 indicated that the area was underlain by highly weathered or fractured materials.

“There was an active rock fall or debris slide-prone area characterized by very steep slopes composed of rock and soil materials,” read the results.

“We issued two geohazards threat advisories last September 12, 2012 and February 25 this year with recommendations for the barangay captain to observe and monitor the presence of mass movement, develop early warning system, provide proper signage, and institute proper mitigation to stabilize the slopes,” Alburo added.

Meanwhile, the team noted three sitios in Barangay Binaliw to be highly susceptible to landslides such as Binaliw 3, Mansawa, and Campo in an assessment also last year.

“We advised communities there to stay away on the affected area as it still considered an active one until such time it is being declared safe or stable by appropriate authorities,” Alburo said.

In a related development, a total of 21 operating mines and quarries and exploration permit holders in region 7 signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with MGB-7 to complete the 1:10,000-scale geohazards assessment by November 30 this year covering more than 700 barangays in the four provinces.

The MOA which was originally stated the completion of the study next year, May 30, was revised taking a cue on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino to fast track the mapping before this year ends.