Wednesday, February 22, 2006


It's possible says MGB, RDCC heads

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

TWO provinces in Western Visayas, particularly a village in Antique, are prone to landslides, similar to what happened to Barangay Guinsaugan, St. Bernard in southern Leyte, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
MGB regional director Lee Van Juguan said Antique and Aklan are “moderately susceptible” to geo-hazards due to a fault line in northwestern Panay. He cited the towns of Hamtic, Antique and Nabas, Aklan as potential geo-hazard areas.
In the case of the Guinsaugan tragedy, Juguan said Leyte has always been considered “high risk” to landslides and mudslides as the Philippine fault line passes right through the middle of the province.
A fault is a crack in the crust of the earth and causes earthquakes and land movements.
“In Region 6, we also have areas that are prone to geo-hazards but if we compare them to Leyte, we have to consider the geologic setting. Our setting is different is not the same as that of southern Leyte because the Philippine fault passes through the province,” Juguan said.
The MGB chief said the presence a fault line in a location affects the quality and stability of soil, rocks and even land formations such as mountains.
Constant movement in the earth’s crust result to loose and fractured rocks and land formations which get weaker during continuous rains, Juguan added.
“Fractured rocks cannot withstand continuous flow of water and eventually it will collapse. That’s what happened in Leyte. In fact the same event occurred in 2003,” Juguan said.
Other factors that can cause landslides are the slope or inclination of the area and type of soil and rock.
Even a thick forest cover is not a guarantee against landslides.
“There are areas in the country where a whole forest disappeared because of the avalanche. The roots of the trees cannot reach and hold the crust. If the area is porous, the trees cannot hold back soil from sliding onto the plain,” Juguan said.
Juguan said there are signs which may serve as warning of an impending landslide such as soil creeping or mini-avalanches.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 6 director Rosario Cabrera said about 23.49 percent of Region 6 is highly susceptible to avalanches.
Based on the OCD landslide susceptibility map, 39.12 percent of the region is classified as non to very low susceptibility areas while medium susceptibility areas cover about 28.32 percent.
Cabrera, who is also the director of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), was concerned with Barangay Pasu-Jungao in Hamtic which experienced several landslides since the 60s.
An estimated 70 hectares of soil has slid to the lower portion of Pasu-Jungao as a result of the avalanches. The latest recorded landslide at the said village was in 2004.
Although Pasu-Jungao is sparsely populated, Cabrera said a major avalanche will affect 11,000 people from 11 surrounding villages.
But the RDCC chief said they are constantly preparing for any eventuality and prevent the Guinsaugan tragedy.
“In the case of Pasu-Jungao, the Antique Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, which was hailed as one of the best DCCs in the country in 2004, is capable of responding to a landslide. We have already evacuated the residents Pasu-Jungao aside from information dissemination campaign,” Cabrera said.
The impending La Niña phenomenon is also a cause of concern for the RDCC and the MGB. But Juguan said Western Visayas will only experience a weak La Niña.
The MGB will also conduct examinations on several towns near the mountain range of central Panay to determine if the area is prone to geo-hazards. (Published in The Gaurdian February 22, 2006)

Doctors rap hospital chief for negligence

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

MORE than 20 doctors at the Iloilo Provincial Hospital (IPH) at Pototan, Iloilo complained with Governor Niel Tupas the state of neglect of the hospital and alleged inefficiency of their medical chief.
In a letter complaint, the 24 doctors asked Tupas to investigate Dr. Noel Icamina, IPH chief, for alleged mismanagement.
The complainants said that the hospital pharmacy lacks medicines forcing patients to go to private drug stores. They also slammed the lack of X-ray films which entailed additional cost for the patients.
Even the laboratory is short of chemicals and equipment for basic tests. The complainants also pointed to the substandard operating room (OR) which was repaired last year using of coco lumber. Aside from being substandard, the OR also lacked anesthesia and facilities.
The doctors also complained that they were evicted from their quarters and transferred to a cramped and hot room. Casual nurses also bore the brunt of hospital work as the nurse-to-population ratio is 1:60.
Even the brand new van which was intended as ambulance became Icamina’s personal vehicle. While they lacked facilities and medicines, Icamina allegedly bought a chandelier which he installed at the hospital lobby.
“It seems that Big Brother has neglected us,” the complainants said.
Yesterday, a fact-finding committee went to IPH to validate the complaints against Icamina. The five-man team is composed of representatives from the Provincial Health Office, Provincial Legal Office, Accounting Office and the Human Resource Management Office.
The team is expected to submit its findings within this week.
The Guardian tried to get Icamina’s side but to no avail. (Published in The Gaurdian February 22, 2006)


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