Environmental advocates in the city slammed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the Diversion Road disaster which resulted to monstrous traffic congestions in various parts of the city since Friday.
“Expect more landslides and obstruction in the days, weeks ahead. Especially after heavy rains,” Arnold Vandenbroeck, a member of the Davao Shrine Hills Advocates (DSHA), said on his social media account.
Vandenbroeck said this is a “result of the lack of care, concern and coordination in road widening and slope protection.
Three weeks ago, Vandenbroeck renewed his call for the protection of Shrine Hills which was declared an Urban Ecological Enhancement Sub-Zone (UEESZ) in 2013.
He said his group already criticized the lack of coordination among government agencies with regards to both Shrine Hills slope protection and the Diversion Road widening as early as July this year.
City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center (CDRRMC) operations and warning officer Rodrigo Bustillo said the road widening being implemented by DPWH is one of the factors that contributed to the ground movement that has caused the crack and landslide in the area.
Ten days ago, Emmanuel Jaldon, head of the DRRMC, already noted ground cracks on the upper portion of the hill and informed the City Engineer’s Office and the DPWH of the situation.
The CDRRMC also advised the property owner of a surplus vehicles shop to immediately stop the excavation of slope walls as these activities could trigger landslides. People living along the danger zones have also been warned.
Vandenbroeck said DPWH claimed it had applied for a certification of exemption from the DENR for the road project.
“If the DPWH cares why apply for a certificate of exemption? If the DENR cares why give a certificate of exemption when DENR’s own MGB had declared the slopes highly susceptible to landslides ages ago (2009)?” Vandenbroeck said. Lovely A. Carillo