MGB-6 Emphasises Utilisation of Geohazard Maps

Since the information provided in geohazard maps shows the level of susceptibility of an area to hazards such as flooding and landslides, they should be used by local government officials, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-6, Phillippines. Leo Van Juguan, regional director of MGB-6, repeated his call for all local chief executives to use the geohazard maps given to them in 2010 to prepare their people and prevent loss of life.

Van Juguan reiterated the call in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by tropical storm Sendong in Iligan, and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. He said the information provided there should spur the mayors, governors and other stakeholders in the disaster-preparedness and mitigation programme of communities to take action.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje called on the mayors and governors to give serious attention to the geohazard maps which the DENR has distributed to some 1,600 municipalities and cities and about 4,000 barangays (villages or wards) nationwide. He said the maps are there to increase the LGUs' competence on hazards, vulnerability and risk assessment activities and enable them to establish their local disaster risk reduction management system. The creation of the DRRM system is a requirement under RA 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act which gives LGUs greater responsibility in building disaster preparedness in their localities.

 MGB-6, Juguan said, had already given all LGUs copies of the geohazard maps and has continuously conducted information dissemination on its content and purpose. Meanwhile, MGB has completed the detailed geohazard assessment of towns identified as moderately to highly susceptible to landslides in semi-detailed mapping of 1:50,000 scale. These towns are San Joaquin, Miag-ao, Tubungan, Igbaras, Leon, Alimodian and Lambunao in Iloilo, and the town of San Remegio in Antique. For 2012, MGB is targeting another eight in Iloilo namely, Calinog, and Janiuay, and in Antique, Laua-an, Hamtic, Patnongon, Valderrama, Barbaza, and Sibalom.

Sec. Paje said the 1:50,000-scale geohazard maps are a critical planning tool in the government's risk reduction programme.