ITOGON, Benguet – The Benguet Corporation (BC) extended the invitation to the Cordillera office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-CAR) technical personnel to conduct an ocular inspection in Camp 5, Acupan, Virac which was affected by a landslide that occurred at the height of the heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Gorio, Huaning and enhanced southwest monsoon that resulted to inconvenience among the motorists and residents.
Lawyer Froilan Roger C. Lawilao, BC administration department head, said that on July 29, 2017, a landslide occurred at Camp 5, Acupan, Virac which partially obstructed the Acupan river diverting the flow of water to the Balatoc-Acupan road that resulted to the total closure of the road and damaging structures and ball mills of private individuals and small-scale miners adjacent to the area.
However, he revealed no loss of lives and properties were reported during the said incident as immediate evacuation was done to the affected residents in the area with the help of concerned government agencies, local officials and the members and volunteers of the Itogon municipal disaster risk reduction and management council (MDRRMC).
Further, Lawilao underscored no company facilities and structures were affected as a result of the said incident considering that company personnel and equipment were immediately deployed by BC management for immediate clearing operations and mitigating measures so as not to expand the area that was affected by the landslide.
“We are still continuously doing the necessary clearing operations and instituting the appropriate mitigating measures in the area in coordination and with the assistance of the MDRRMC and the Itogon local government,” Lawilao added.
The BC official pointed close monitoring of the company’s new diversion tunnels has been and is currently being done for possible siltation as a result of the landslide to make sure that appropriate mitigating measures will be put in place to prevent the increase of the area affected by the landslide incident. He expressed his gratitude to the residents living within the area for their cooperation in the immediate evacuation done by the company at the height of the landslide incident that resulted to the zero casualty due to the landslide.
Lawilao added the Benguet provincial government and the Itogon municipal government also deployed their units of heavy equipment to help in the clearing operations while the community conducted the usual ‘bayanihan’ that resulted to the immediate clearing of the debris from the clogged road the soonest.
According to him, the joint inspection to be conducted by the personnel of the MGB-CAR, Itogon municipal government, BC representatives and concerned stakeholders will ascertain the root cause of the landslide incident and will help identify the appropriate mitigating measures that will be instituted by the company to prevent the occurrence of similar landslide incidents in the area during the upcoming onslaught of heavy rains as a result of the prevalence of the rainy season. He called on residents living in the area affected by the landslide to take the appropriate precautions to prevent the future loss of lives and damage to properties during the occurrence of similar landslide incidents in the future, saying that the company is always ready to extend the needed assistance to them, especially in terms of their immediate evacuation and the timely clearing of the affected areas so that people will be able to freely move in and out of their place.