Quake aftermath: forced evacuation of Bagobo families in Magsaysay town

THE REGION
October 24, 2019

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The municipal government of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur has implemented a forced evacuation of at least 70 Bagobo families residing in Sitio Labidangan in Barangay Upper Bala on Sunday as their village is no longer safe for habitation.

Antonio Allada, information officer of Magsaysay town, said in a telephone interview on Sunday that the local government will undertake the forced evacuation after experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the  Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) assessed on Saturday that the site was no longer safe for habitation.

He said the experts recommended that the village of the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) be declared a “no-build zone” as it is now considered a high-risk area.

He said the forced evacuation will be enforced by officials from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Municipal Engineer’s Office, Magsaysay Police Office, and barangay officials.

Allada said the local government decided on the forced evacuation after the families, who subsist on agriculture for livelihood, refused to leave their homes which are close to their farms..

“Grabe ka dangerous, based sa assessment kagahapon sa MGB and PHIVOLCS didto sa area, recommend sa LGU forced evacuation 70 plus families (It’s very dangerous based on the assessment of the MGB and PHIVOLCS in the area. They recommended a forced evacuation of 70 plus families),” he said.

He said experts saw  portions of a hill in Sitio Labidangan that collapsed and discovered some cracks there.

“Dili nato hulaton nga naa pay ma landslide before igawas (Let’s not wait for a landslide before we take them out),” he said.

He added the evacuees will take shelter at the nearby barangay gymnasium for the meantime as the municipal government prepares the construction of temporary shelters.

A pre-emptive evacuation was implemented in Barangay Malawanit shortly after a landslide due to the Magnitude 6.3 earthquake on October 16 buried the house of a family. The father, Joyjoy Lakay and two children survived but the mother and her nine-year old son were killed.

Allada said a total of 58 families were evacuated and are now staying in a tent city in a safe zone in Barangay Malawanit.

The landslide affected 30 to 50 hectares, Allada said.

A report released by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said there are a total of 236 families or 910 individuals who are staying in the evacuation center at the Municipal Plaza of Magsaysay in Davao del Sur.

The report said the earthquake destroyed 370 houses and 2,506 others partially damaged in the region. Of the 370 destroyed houses, 289 were in Magsaysay and 81 in Bansalan. 


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