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DENR, MGB inspect landslide areas in Nueva Vizcaya
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DENR, MGB inspect landslide areas in Nueva Vizcaya

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Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Local Government Unit (LGU) of Quezon in Nueva Vizcaya inspect the landslide areas that claimed the lives of 10 individuals at the onslaught of the heavy downpour brought about by Typhoon Ulysses on Nov. 11.

DENR Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, MGB Regional Director Mario A. Ancheta, and Mayor Dolores Binwag led the site inspection on Nov. 18  following the fatal landslides at sitios Bit-ang (Lower), Bit-ang (Upper) and Kinalabasa, all in Barangay Runruno which is within the Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) area of FCF Minerals for its Runruno Gold Molybdenum Project.
 
The area, according to the MGB regional chief, is geo-hazard prone with a very high to critical susceptibility to landslide and flooding based on the geo-hazard assessment conducted by the bureau in 2018.
 
In the meeting, Director Bambalan requested the LGU and the mining company to conduct inventory of families residing in the area and to identify where they can be safely relocated.
 
Mayor Binwag said residents in the area come from the provinces of Quirino, Ifugao, Benguet and nearby towns, and some of them are engaged in illegal small-scale mining operations.
 
“If we want to save lives, we have to look for a safer area. It is about their safety and their family,” Director Bambalan said as she committed the DENR through the provincial environment and natural resources (PENR) office to assist the municipal local government in looking for resettlement area.
 
She added: "The area being a timberland should be devoid of settlements unless with permits or tenurial instrument issued by the government thru the DENR. Illegal occupation is punishable under Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines."
 
Per report of lawyer Jener C. Puguon of FCF Minerals, the company have settled over 215 land claims from a total of 407 landholder claims after several negotiations. Others however refused to vacate as they are not amicable to the amount of relocation compensation that the company offers.
 
A dialogue with the residents will be held on Nov. 26 with representatives of DENR, MGB, municipal and barangay LGU, and Philippine National Police to present government regulations and resettlement plans.
 
The site inspection was also attended by PENR Officer Edgar T. Martin, PNP Provincial Director Ranzer Evasco and Runruno Barangay Captain John Babliing.#