The tragic landslide in Naga, Cebu that left at least 35 people dead and 44 still missing could have been avoided if local government executives and the regional office of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau acted on reports that there were already fissures in the area, an official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.
“When they learned that there were cracks, even if the cracks were still small, they should have taken action immediately,” DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones said in an interview with dzBB on Saturday.
“The fact that there were already cracks in the area, they should have already alerted the community to leave the site,” Leones said.
The regional MGB found fissures in the area during an earlier site inspection.
“They [MGB and local officials] are now being asked to explain,” Leones said.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has ordered the relief of MGB-Region 7 director Loreto Alburo and three other MGB officials following the landslide.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte was asked by a female survivor if he would order the shutdown of the quarry operations in the area.
“What I am requesting is for you to put a stop to Apo Cement which has been doing quarry operations here in Naga... It is the quarry’s fault, not the typhoon. For several years we have weathered storms and there were no landslides,” the citizen said after Duterte asked the survivors if anyone of them had something to say to him.
Duterte responded in the affirmative, but joked that the woman had been “trained well...like a spokesperson.”
He then proceeded to ask the crowd if there were members of the New People’s Army present.
“Who are the NPAs here? Just activists? Okay. Are there no NPAs here? You better watch out for these fools. Are there no NPA supporters here? Don’t enter into that. I will turn my back [on you],” the President said.
“For 50 years they’ve been fighting with government. And for 50 years what have they shown? Killing, bullets, burials, and extortions. These sons of whores! Fifty years and all they did was kill.”
“You like the communists? Look at their lives. Look at where they bury their dead. After an encounter, they’ll just dig a hole somewhere and that’s that...If you believe in the NPA, then they will just keep on extorting. Tell them that’s why we will never reach an agreement here,” Duterte said.
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