THE MINES and Geosciences Bureau-Region 8 (MGB-8) has recommended to the Ormoc City government the permanent relocation to safer areas of residents from five villages directly affected by the 6.5 magnitude earthquake last July 5. MGB-8 Chief Geologist Valentin P. Narido, in his letter to Mayor Richard I. Gomez, identified the barangays as Tongonan, Lake Danao, Milagro, Cabingtan and Nueva Vista. Tongonan is one of the region’s richest villages, being host to the geothermal plants of Energy Development Cor. In the report, the MGB also said that “areas susceptible to landslides, especially those with reported tension cracks, are recommended to relocate to safer sites.” It also recommended that damaged buildings and infrastructures should not be used anymore, and “must have these evaluated by city engineers for proper recommendations,” and that “no house and buildings should be built on top of the fault,” or within 100 meters of the fault line. Mr. Narido said their report was undertaken in cooperation with the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and six mining firms: Oceana Gold, Carmen Copper Corporation, Taganito Mining Corp., Platinum Group Mining Corp., Cebrian Geokunsult, Inc. and Adnama Mining Resources, Inc. MGB-8 representatives, along with the city disaster risk reduction office and the National Housing Authority, were scheduled yesterday to visit the red-flagged areas and put up markers indicating the fault lines and the extent of “no build zones.” The teams will also assess proposed relocation sites. — The Freeman

A resident of Brgy. Tongonan, Ormoc City is pictured during the distribution of initial non-food items in the aftermath of magnitude 6.5 earthquake on July 6, 2017. Photo from Ormoc City Government’s Facebook page (@OrmocLGU)