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Saturday, April 13, 2024


Vee Gee Eim may not be her real name, but her cries and tears of grief posted on social media over the loss of her sister in the tragic landslide that swept over Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro, was undeniably real. She was one of the many surviving family members of close to 100 people, and feared may even be higher, who perished in the landslide.

We are again at a point of looking for answers: how can a tragedy as huge and devastating as the Masara landslide happen when all policies have been put in place to ensure that this can be avoided?

Vee Gee Eim’s sentiments in her viral video were on point with a very logical answer.

The area had been long declared by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (MGB-DENR) as a danger zone, a landslide prone area, or to be exact, a “no-build-zone”. Who then authorized the people to establish their communities there, even build permanent structures?

Vee Gee Eim blamed local government officials for the tragedy and authorities should better look into her serious claims as to why people were “allowed to settle” in Barangay Masara.

She said, local government officials, particularly Mayor Voltaire Rimando and Masara Barangay Captain Dumalagan, allowed a school to be built there, along with other permanent government structures and business establishments. Even the barangay hall was built within the danger zone area.

These gave the people the false sense of security and safety. Such permanent structures were clearly an invitation and an encouragement to settle within a location that is clearly not a secure and safe place.

Propriety calls for authorities to look into the logical allegation that it was Barangay Captain Dumalagan who insisted in the establishment of a permanent school in the area—an act that sort of says it’s okay to settle in the area.

When ACT-CIS Representative Erwin Tulfo called on Congress to conduct inquiry in the wake of the tragedy, it is but logical to let Dumalagan explain why he should not be held responsible for culpable violations of the law and policies that strictly restricted building of communities and permanent structures in a place identified as a danger zone, a landslide prone area.


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