3 top Mindoro officials urge LGUs to finish now land use plans to avoid ‘Sendong’ disaster
CALAPAN CITY – The three highest officials of Oriental Mindoro – Governor Alfonso V. Umali, Jr., 1st District Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia and 2nd District Congressman Rey V. Umali – is urging all local government units (LGUs) in the province to speed-up finalizing their respective land use plans in the face of regular rainfall here and avoid what had happened in Cagayan De Oro and Iligan cities.
This developed as members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) for MIMAROPA (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan) are also urging LGU officials in the said region not to allow any informal settlers in hazard-prone areas to avoid casualties in times of natural calamities.
At the same time, a German development agency also urged local officials in the said region to include climate proofing in their land use plans to better prepare for climate change risks.
In press conference here the other day, Governor Umali and Congressmen Valencia and Umali echoed their worry that most of the LGUs in this province might be unprepared when a natural disaster such as “Sendong” occur anytime now. And because of this, they want all LGUs in Oriental Mindoro to better complete at once they pending comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs).
Valencia revealed the recent findings on the study of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which say that Oriental Mindoro is included in the top 10 flood-prone provinces in the Philippines and the area is full of geo-hazard risks.
And because of this, the first district congressman wants the province to soon implement his proposed mega-dike project here, a multi-purpose undertaking that will include flood mitigation and control, hydro-power and water resourcing, and geo-hazard prevention plan.
Meanwhile, in its year-end conference call the other day in Manila, members of RDRRMC in region 4B agreed among themselves that casualty during floods would be minimal if LGUs do not allow people to reside in low-lying areas and riverbanks, noting most of the victims in Cagayan de Oro City came from hazardous areas inhabited by squatters.
Mayor Juan Sanchez of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro, said that it was really a big challenge on the part of local executives to arrest squatting in their respective areas.
Typhoon, flooding, landslides and maritime disaster were cited as the major problems facing the five island provinces comprising the region
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Eugene Cabrera urged the LGUs to take a second look at their respective plans in the wake of the sad experience in the south.
Relative to this, a director and principal adviser for the Environment and Rural Development Program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Walter Salzer, advised the said LGUs the need to climate-proof or consider different scenarios related to climate change in land use plans to see if they are ready to respond to such events. .( By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)