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PIA Press Release

DENR urges communities to clean drainage systems

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (19 June) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is calling on all concerned government agencies, local government units and the local communities to start clean-up operations on all drainage systems and to conduct appropriate engineering or mitigation measures to prevent all possible hazards with the onset of the rainy season.

According to DENR-CAR Mines and Geo-Science Bureau (MGB) chief Geologist Faye Apil, with an average of 22 typhoons a year entering the country, the Cordillera being a mountainous region and within the watersheds cradle, is highly susceptible to landslides. It is more hazardous now with the larger volumes of rainfalls brought about by climate change.

Apil pointed out that clogged drainage systems can be a cause not only of landslide but also flooding. She scored the lack of drainage systems in the region. With the increasing population and houses, and with the increasing volume of rainfalls, the public and all local government units should start cleaning up drainage systems and canals while municipal development offices should start a well planned and laid out drainage system, she stressed.

For upland areas like Baguio City, with mountainous terrain and with most houses situated on highly steep and sloping areas, the DENR is calling on the public living in such areas to make or introduce the necessary mitigating or engineering measures such as slope protection measures and effective drainage system, and to upgrade the stability of their houses or areas.

Apil stressed the importance of community effort in preventing hazards. The unstableness and lack of drainage of one house, especially on those situated on a higher ground, could greatly affect the others, as what have happened in Little Kibungan, La Trinidad Benguet and other parts of the region, during the onslaught of typhoon Pepeng.

According to Apil, they have been doing geo-hazard mapping and landslide susceptibility mapping, not to scare the public, but for the local government units and concerned agencies to be aware of the hazards and for them to do the necessary mitigating and engineering measures. The landslide susceptibility map is open to anybody.

As for the geo-hazard mapping the DENR is conducting, Apil confirmed that by the end of this year, they will be finished with the rapid assessment. What remains unfinished are those in remote areas in the boundaries of Kalinga, Apayao and Abra. (PIA) [top]

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