A councilor has raised an alarm over the susceptibility of an area to disasters, particularly landslides, following the cutting down of about 50 fully-grown trees in Barangay Kibalang, Marilog District.
First District Councilor Temujin Ocampo said the city government is still waiting for the response from concerned government agencies on the matter as the area was classified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as highly susceptible to landslides.
Ocampo, the environment committee chair, said he was concerned about the cutting down of trees as these were part of a greenbelt project initiated by the city government in 2012 under Mayor Sara Duterte.
The trees were planted as a mitigation measure to prevent landslides in the area. However, the construction of a school in the barangay resulted in the cutting down of trees.
“We were shocked when we arrived, and the tree was cut down about 30-50 trees,” said Ocampo, who visited the area last month. “They seem to have permits and all, but we are still waiting for their documents that they said they have a cutting permit.”
Although he supported the construction of the school, Ocampo emphasized the need to ensure that the area is stable for the structure.
He revealed that the barangay passed a resolution in 2012 allowing the planting of trees but also passed a resolution of “no objection” to the construction of the school in the area considered “landslide prone.”
Ocampo’s concern is that if something happens, the council will be blamed for not doing anything.
He pointed out the need for government agencies, including the Department of Education (DepEd), to attend the scheduled hearing on the issue.
“We don’t have a problem if MGB or anybody can assure us that it will be safe for structures. We will get certification declaring that the area is safe,” added the lawmaker.
In addition to the construction of the school, a cemetery was also discovered near the site. The issue is in the first reading, and the committee is expected to hold a hearing where all stakeholders will be summoned, including the barangay officials.
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