The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 of the Department and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 declared Lower Sitio, Barangay Busay, Cebu City where an elementary school sits as not suitable for development and construction of permanent structures.

“Based on the 1:10,000 scale geohazard mapping and assessment of Cebu City conducted in March 2011 under the National Geohazards Mapping and Assessment Program, the site for the proposed relocation site of Busay Elementary School (BES) is classified as highly susceptible to landslides,” said MGB 7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo.

Alburo said the area is in fact unstable and is not viable or safe for development of permanent structures.

The recent landslides may have been attributed to several factors such as heavy rainfall, the type of soil being mostly weathered and typically porous and poorly bedded which has high absorptive capacity, and very steep slopes.

In a letter by Alburo addressed to Barangay Busay Councilor Eliodoro Sanchez last Feb. 9, it said “recent investigation in the area showed that the ground subsidence has further advanced as shown in the increase in the ground vertical displacement as it was deduced that the access road going to the proposed relocation site is unstable”.

Also, the same letter says “previous assessment on file within the vicinity showed that in 2008, ground crack has affected an area, less than 50 meters farther, southwest of the relocation and the area affected is a sloping ground at the back of the classroom of the abandoned BES”.

In 2011, the ground movement reoccurred damaging the newly-built multi-storey concrete building still within BES.  It was found out that a road slip or ground subsidence was mapped along the road junction from the transcentral highway going to the school.

“We are strongly urging our local chief executives, particularly the barangay captains, to revisit and restudy the landslide susceptibility rating and landslide advisory letter which we issued to them so that they will know where landslide or flooding would likely occur within their respective area,” said DENR 7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo.

Similarly, Alburo reiterated in its letter dated July 1 addressed to Local School Board Chair Ronald Diola saying the proposed site as unsafe.

The letter adds “we do not totally dismiss the possibility that engineering intervention could mitigate, if not prevent, slope instability following effective and stringent protection measures after a more detailed geological or geohazard study by experts”.

“The study should not be confined on the specific site but surrounding areas as well,” it adds.

Areas usually with steep to very steep slopes and underlain by weak materials with recent landslides, escarpments and tension cracks are classified as very high to landslide susceptibility.