April 17, 2024

BANGUED, Abra – The expertise of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Quick Response Team (QRT) aided some of the local government units in the province in recommending the evacuation and relocation of some communities affected by the July 27 magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit the province and the northwestern parts of Luzon.

The team, in their 10-day assessment, kept the concerned LGUs and stakeholders posted on their daily findings since their deployment in Abra a day after the earthquake.

UNSTABLE ROAD SECTION — Countless residents and motorists were stranded when a landslide occurred along Kennon Road at Camp 3, Tuba, Benguet. Falling rocks were also reported in several sections of the road, which is a perennial problem during inclement weather. — Diane Garas

Among their findings on the geologic impacts of the earthquake are induced landslides and tension cracks in the mountainous areas and liquefaction in the river channels.

DOST-Phivolcs Supervising Science Research Specialist Jeffrey Perez said based on their assessment of the earthquake manifestations,  they recommended the evacuation of the communities in Sitio Ubbog and one site in Barangay Lipcan in Bangued and Barangay Sabtanolo in San Isidro.

Evacuation was likewise recommended in four barangays in Pidigan namely Suyo, Sitio Nagdaingan in Barangay Pangtud, Barangay Monggoc, and Sitio Tambor in Barangay Alinaya.

The team  also recommended the relocation of affected communities – one site of Barangay Lipcan  and Barangay Sagap in Bangue; three barangays affected in Pidigan namely  Alinaya, Pangtud, and  Mong-goc; and Barangay Tangadan in San Quintin. It has also identified possible relocation sites.

AID TO QUAKE-AFFECTED COPS — The Police Regional Office-Cordillera under its director, B/Gen. Mafy Bazar, distributed the cash assistance to policemen and women, whose houses and properties were affected by the July 27 magnitude 7.0 quake. The assistance which were donations from various police commands and units reached more than P7.2 million. — PRO-Cor photo

Perez noted people have become conscious of their surroundings such as the case of the community in Sagap, Bangued which reported and documented the tension cracks above the mountain and was later on confirmed by the team.

He added earthquake-induced landslides in mountainous areas in 20 towns of the province were recorded.   

Liquefaction was also observed in Tayum, Bangued, Dolores, Peñarrubia, and Bucay which manifested as sand boils, ground fissures, lateral spreads, ground subsidence, and localized swelling.

The team also conducted earthquake information dissemination and education about earthquake to LGUs and residents in the affected areas.

The Phivolcs has deployed temporary seismic stations for continuous monitoring of aftershocks.

Following their 10-day assessment, the Phivolcs team presented their recommendations to Gov. Dominic Valera.

The team said for areas with existing tension cracks, pre-emptive evacuation must be done and all must be watchful of possible landslides triggered by earthquakes or prolonged heavy rainfall.

Damaged buildings and infrastructures should be inspected by engineers and should not be used unless assessed as safe.

Formal training of local masons and carpenters on the proper construction practice and use of standard construction materials are also a must.

PERENNIAL CONCERN — Rockslides and landslides along the stretch of the Baguio-Bontoc Road is now becoming a perennial problem among motorists and commuters in wake of the July 27 quake and the inclement weather being experienced in northern Luzon. Here, DPWH equipment clear from debris the section of the highway at Sitio Napo, Bontoc Ili, Bontoc, Mountain Province last week. — Bontoc EOS photo

Reconstruction or construction of houses and buildings should conform to the National Building Code of the Philippines and strengthen the implementation of and compliance to the National Structural and National Building codes.

There is also a need to review and formulate policies and ordinances that will address the gaps in the issuance of building permits and monitoring of building constructions. – Susan C. Aro