ARAYAT, Pampanga — Some 2,500 families from Barangay San Juan here attended a community awareness briefing conducted by the Pampanga PDRRMO, MGB and the municipal and barangay officials in preparation for threats of landslides.
The briefing was an initiative of Governor Dennis ‘Delta’ Pineda which was participated in by families living at Purok 4,5,6,7 of Barangay San Juan.
This came after incidents of landslides were confirmed by experts from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as widening scars were seen along Sapang Maeyagas located atop the mountain after Typhoon “Karding” hit the country recently.
Experts told villagers about the susceptibility of their areas to threats of debris flows, landslides, and other similar events.
Based on the assessment conducted by MGB, such occurrences have great potential to cause loss of lives and damage to property as experienced in previous disaster events like Ondoy in 2009, Santi in 2013, Glenda in 2014, and Karding in 2022.
Governor Delta said the provincial government will immediately conduct engineering intervention to reinforce the existing deflection dike, a diversion wall done by then-Mayor now Vice Mayor Emmanuel Alejandrino.
He also revealed that he would ask for the assistance of national government agencies for a long-term solution to this perennial problem.
“Inatasan ko po ang mga miyembro ng Engineering Intervention Management Team ng Task Force Sinukuan , sa pamumuna ng DPWH at ang mga kasamahan nito ( MGB, 70IB PA, DENR, PDRRMO, PEO, ENRO at ang LGU na pumanhik para makita ang aktwal na kundisyon, mag-assess at mag-recommend kung anong engineering intervention ang pwedeng gawin. Hindi puwedeng preemptive lang tayo. We are going to do different approaches para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga tao,” the governor said.
During the event, PDRRMO Chief Angelina Blanco underscored the importance of the landslide early warning system put up by the provincial government and some safety procedures during evacuation.
“Habang naghihintay pa tayo ng engineering intervention. The provincial government has started implementing ‘yung mga immediate actions natin which include installation ng landslide early warning system na may kasama seismograph at automatic rain gauge. Naglagay na rin tayo na barangay-wide siren and PA system na mas lalakasan pa natin. Soon, we are going to put up warning signages and evacuation guides per purok sa barangay,” she said.
Blanco said Governor Delta has also tasked the PDRRMO to identify pick-up points and evacuation sites for high-risk Individuals and conduct house tagging of priority populations.
Some 2,500 pieces of GO bags with whistles, raincoats, and flashlights are set to be distributed to high-risk families.
“Lahat po ginagawa natin nila Governor, kompleto po ang mga evacuation centers natin. Sa mga kabarangay natin sa San Juan Baño, huwag po kayong matakot. It’s better to be prepared. Kung walang nangyari, very good. Pero when the need arises, kailangan po nating mag-evacuate para hindi na po ma-endanger yung buhay natin. If kailangan niyo naman pong bumalik, tutulungan namin po kayong makabalik ng maayos,” Blanco furthered.
Mount Arayat Community Safety Task Force was also created to efficiently and effectively utilize the early warning system and ensure the utmost preparedness and safety of the communities in the area.
The task force comprises the executive management team, technical support team, community awareness team, engineering interventions management team, evacuation management team, and relocation team.
Mayor Alejandrino thanked the efforts of the Governor in ensuring the safety of the communities living at the foot of Mount Arayat.
After the community briefing, each resident received food packs through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).