MANILA - The government of Naga in Cebu was warned of possible landslides before typhoon Ompong hit the country, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said Thursday, after a portion of the mountain collapsed and buried some 20 houses in the city.
Marian Codilla, information officer of the MGB office in Cebu, said the landslide site in Barangay Tinaan was specifically identified as an area "highly susceptible to landslides" in their updated geohazard map provided to the local government.
"It has been identified as a landslide prone area. Details of that were provided to the local government unit for dissemination to the residents," she told DZMM radio.
Authorities said 4 bodies have been retrieved from the landslide site. Rescuers are still digging through the piles of rock and mounds of soil for possible survivors in the area, which is reportedly near a quarry site.
"Noong kasagsagan po ng recent typhoon na si Ompong, nagpalabas po kami ng advisories sa landslide and flood prone areas— lahat ng LGUs with areas na moderate to high ang susceptability," Codilla added.
(We issued advisories to all local government units at the height of the recent typhoon Ompong about the areas moderately and highly susceptible to landslides.)
She said the MGB-Cebu is still investigating if quarrying had anything to do with the landslide. But based on initial assessment, she said the portion of the mountain in the village collapsed because of heavy rains overnight.
Meanwhile, Iris Algabre, spokesperson of Naga Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong, refused to comment when asked about the warnings reportedly given them before the landslide happened.
Codilla, for her part, said the MGB in Cebu regularly updates their geohazard map which can be accessed through their website.