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PIA Press Release
2009/06/24

DENR's clearance permit determines geological hazards of housing sites

Cebu City (24 June) -- A clearance permit given by the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources - Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB 7) to housing developers to proceed with their housing projects is just recommendatory in nature and does not carry with it the police power to cease the housing project in case there are questions regarding the site development.

DENR-MGB 7 Regional Executive Director Roger de Dios admitted that it is the responsibility of their office to conduct site assessment of housing projects to check whether these sites are free from geological and natural hazards such as flooding, flash floods and landslides which may be rain-induced and earthquake-related.

De Dios said that in case their report showed that the site is prone to geologic hazards then they recommend engineering interventions to ensure the safety of future residents in the area.

The recommendation will be given to the concern local government unit (LGU) where the housing project is located for their monitoring and action on whether the housing developer should be given the necessary development permit needed to proceed with the housing project, De Dios revealed.

De Dios said it is the responsibility of the Office of the Building Official (OBO) in concerned LGUs to monitor the housing projects whether they have followed the necessary requirements under the Building Code.

The MGB official however clarified that in spite of their recommendations but still the housing developer is given the development permit by the LGU, their office has no authority to issue an order to cease the development of the housing project.

DENR-7 Chief Geologist Al Emil Berador said there are over 30 housing developers applying for the clearance permit as they are currently assessing these housing sites to conduct a detailed study for geological and natural hazards.

De Dios said areas prone to geologic and natural hazards are those that have the presence of old landslide, steep slopes and the kind of rock formation in the area.

The MGB official said most developers are developing housing sites in mountains areas based on market demand but warned that houses on steep slopes no matter how competent the rock formation is exposes one to risk.

De Dios added that the DENR also does not issue an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the housing developers if the development site has not undergone the necessary engineering geological hazard assessment (EGA).

The DENR-MGB 7 is continuing its assessment in the region to come up with the Geohazard Mapping Program (GMP) in Central Visayas. The objectives of the geohazard mapping include identification of various geologic features, identification of hazards associated to these geologic features, identification of settlement sites, properties and infrastructures to be affected, generation of geohazard maps and reports incorporating said information, information on the vulnerability of certain areas to various types of geologic and natural hazards.

The GMP is expected to be completed by early next year as based on the MGB assessment study, 15 of the 26 mountain barangays in Cebu City covered by the rapid geohazard assessment have high susceptibility to landslides while eight of them are moderately susceptible and three have low landslides susceptibility.

De Dios said they have submitted their results to the concern LGUs for appropriate engineering measures but due to budgetary constraints, some LGUs cannot act on the problem. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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