Rama wages war vs. landslides, suspends all quarry operations

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama ordered the suspension of all quarry and earth-moving operations in 30 mountain barangays starting on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

The order is contained in Rama’s Executive Order (EO) 13, or Oplan Likay sa Landslide, which he issued following the landslide in Sitio Garahe, Barangay Busay on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The mayor also ordered the City Mining Regulatory Board not to issue quarry permits.

“The lifting of the suspension is subject to the evaluation of the current geological condition of the City’s 30 upland barangays, and recommendation by the Special Task Force [Likay sa Landslide],” a portion of EO 13 reads.

Rama’s EO 13 further directed barangay officials to “report and/or suspend the quarry and earth-moving operations conducted within their jurisdiction.”

Binaliw Barangay Captain Viviane Ruste said there were quarry operations last year, but these had stopped because the operators lacked permits.

In the city’s north district, Barangay Pulangbato has quarry operations, and these were ordered suspended after EO 13 was issued.

Structure inventory

Under EO 13, Rama also ordered the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Planning and Development Office, Department of Engineering and Public Works, Office of the Building Official, Department of Social Welfare and Services, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, in coordination with barangay officials, to immediately conduct an inventory of all structures and drainage systems built within the 30 mountain barangays determined by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Visayas to be highly susceptible to landslides starting with Barangays Banilad, Budlaan, Busay, Babag, Bonbon, Malubog, Pung-ol Sibugay, Sirao, Pulangbato, Guba, Mabini, Binaliw, Agsunog and Sinsin.

He also ordered them to verify compliance of the National Building Code and other requirements such as soil-testing and/or geo-technical studies prior to construction.

Under the EO, structures illegally built in areas determined by the Special Task Force headed by Rama’s executive secretary, Collin Rosell, to be highly susceptible to landslides must be vacated.

It also orders owners of properties in landslide-prone areas to come up with preventive measures like build slope protection and plant trees, among others.

It also prohibits heavy equipment and transport vehicles (six-wheelers and up) from traversing on roads in mountain barangays that are affected by landslides and soil erosion except emergency vehicles, public service vehicles and equipment operated by government responders and public utility companies subject to permission from the Special Task Force.

Collin Rosell, who is the mayor’s secretary and the special task force chairman, and the Special Task Force’s 33 members met on Thursday to discuss the implementation of EO 13. (PAC, KAL, PJB)