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Ilocos Region

PIA Press Release
Saturday, January 14, 2012

Feature report: Avoid a repeat of Sendong: DENR alerts Ilocos Norte residents in landslide, flood-prone areas

by Cristina Arzadon

Residents whose areas are vulnerable to flooding and landslides were reminded to get their information kits on disaster preparedness from their local leaders to avoid a repeat of what happened to the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.

Juan de los Reyes, from the provincial environment and natural resources office, said local government units that have been identified as flood and landslide-prone were listed under a geo-hazard map that was previously distributed to village officials.

“The geo-hazard map does not only provide a list of towns susceptible to flooding and landslides. It also includes useful tips on disaster-preparedness and important contact names and numbers of authorities that people could ask for help,” de los Reyes said during the Philippine Information Agency-Laoag’s radio forum, “PIA Hour.”

Towns susceptible to flooding, according to the DENR list are the following: parts of Laoag, Piddig, Solsona, Dingras, Marcos, and Bangui. It is not clear whether the list missed to identify towns that have been historically flooded every typhoon season like Paoay and some parts of Batac.

Those listed as vulnerable to landslides are: the villages of Nagrebcan, Labutar,Arusip and Madupayas in Badoc; Banban, Payac, San isidro and Manayon in Bangui; Aggasi, Saguigui, Tarrag, Ligaya, Dampig, Liliputen, Dagupan, Alsem, Cabangaran, and Cabayo in Pagudpud and Canaam, Salsalamagui, and Ester in Vintar.

De los Reyes said disaster-preparedness is being up to the challenge. But the long-term solution to protecting residents against environmental disaster is the replenishment of depleting forest covers.

“The National Greening Program will revive our forests and mountains which have been destroyed due to illegal logging and wanton disregard of the environment,” he said.

For Ilocos Norte, at least 1,350 hectares have been planted to trees in 2011 in the towns of Banna, Batac, Badoc, Pinili, and Marcos while 2,700 hectares more will be planted this year.

The DENR has made Nueva Era, Vintar, Dingras, Marcos, Pagudpud, and Pasuquin as priority areas for planting trees. Those regularly supporting the program are 20 peoples’ organizations, private associations, and government employees who are required to plant 10 trees for each employee every year.

The NGP was made a policy under Executive Order 26 that President Aquino signed on February 24, 2011.

EO 26 mandates the NGP to be a government priority program leading to reduced poverty, promote food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation, and enhance climate change mitigation and adaptation.

It supports and complements EO No. 23, which bans logging in natural and residual forests, as well as Proclamation No. 125, declaring 2011 as the National Year of Forests in the Philippines.

Under the NGP, at least 1.5 billion seedlings in 1.5 million hectares should have been planted in six years from 2011 to 2016.

The plantation target is more than twice the government’s accomplishment for the past 25 years, of about 730,000 hectares, according to the Official Gazette website of the Office of the President.

Areas for planting include forest lands, mangrove and protected areas, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, urban areas under the greening plan of LGUs, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and other suitable lands of the public domain. (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)

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