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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Solons slam civil defense on landslide

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House Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo has lambasted the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the local government unit (LGU) of Maco, Davao de Oro, for negligence over the landslide that killed 98 people and left nine missing in the province.

Tulfo, along with Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong of Lanao del Sur, said in a congressional hearing that the tragedy could have been prevented if the LGU and OCD had done their job well.

“Before the tragedy, a series of landslides had been recorded in Maco, Davao de Oro,” Tulfo said, citing reports from Indigenous People communities in the area.

Tulfo said per the records, landslides occurred in Jan. 12 and 13, 2023, in Purok Waling-Waling, Bgy. Mainit, and in March 2023, in Purok Durian, Bgy. Mainit. Three more landslides were recorded in January 2024, resulting in one death in different areas of Maco, just a few days before the tragic landslide on February 6.

When Tulfo confronted Maco Mayor Voltaire Rimando and Warren Lucas of

the Operations Service of the OCD, both admitted that they did not receive reports of these landslides. Only the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR reported receiving landslide reports from the area. 

This prompted Tulfo of ACT-CIS party-list group to call for the abolition of the OCD in the province. “So mga walang silbi ang mga ahensya natin. Walang silbi ang OCD buwagin na lang natin siguro. Maging siguro itong munisipyo. So gawa-gawa lamang ng mga IPs itong report sa akin na may mga landslide tayo,” Tulfo said.

For his part, Adiong disagreed with the OCD’s response that they only receive reports when there are 10 or more deaths.

“I could not take that. I cannot believe that you only accept reports when there are 10 or more deaths. That is unacceptable,” Adiong said.

For her part, Social Welfare Undersecretary Diane Rose Cajipe, declared support for the congressional  inquiry even as she agreed with legislators that the LGUs and the OCD had lapses on their part.

“It (tragedy) could be prevented, so we are one with our lawmakers in this inquiry to prevent another incident like this,” Cajipe said.

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