105 families relocated due to soil erosion

By Cet Dematera


THE continuing erosion of soil in a village at the slope of Mayon Volcano in Malilipot, Albay is posing serious threats to some 105 families who were already temporarily evacuated inside a school compound, the village chief and the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo) reported on Monday, Dec. 14.


Josefina Binas, village chief, said that a big chunk of a hill adjacent to a river bank in her village of San Roque has started to erode since the three typhoons that hit Bicol dumped torrential rains in Malilipot, an Albay town where residents of at least four villages need immediate relocation.


Binas said she already sought help from the concerned government agencies, including the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR).

EROSION. A drone shot of the eroding soil that already looks like a deep cliff in Barangay San Roque, Malilipot, Albay. (Photo by PIA-Bicol)


“We already requested the MGB to conduct an inspection of the soil erosion and recommend to us what to do. But we already relocated 105 families whose houses are adjacent to the eroding soil,” Binas told Bicol Mail.


Apsemo chief Cedric Daep said that they already recommended an urgent relocation of the residents at the vicinity of the continuously eroding soil, saying heavy rains and earthquake could trigger faster erosion that could engulf the adjacent houses there.


“In fact, before this soil erosion started, we already recommended that the only 18 houses in the place in 1993 be immediately relocated. But they did not listen to us. Instead, more houses were built. But because of what is happening now, these 105 families living in that portion of Barangay San Roque were already forced to flee to safer ground,” Daep said.


Daep said that the Malilipot government has to immediately come out with a contingency plan for the immediate relocation of these under threat residents before things get even worse.


“The Albay provincial government has money for their relocation. And we will coordinate with the National Housing Authority (NHA) for their housing. This has to be done urgently,” Daep added.


Ako Bicol (AKB) Partylist Rep. Elizaldy Co said that he would coordinate with Philippine Red Cross or the NHA for the relocation and housing of the erosion-affected families.


“We will closely coordinate with the Philippine Red Cross and NHA so that these residents could be housed to a permanent relocation site,” said Co, who personally visited the tents of the evacuees where the partylist had also distributed relief goods, solar lights, and cash to the seniors, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and pregnant women.


Co even requested pictures of the eroding soil from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol to be presented to the concerned government and non-government agencies (NGOs) for their possible participation in the relocation efforts of the displaced families.