DENR suspends top MGB Central Visayas officials after fatal landslide

April Rafales, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2018 08:59 PM

Rescuers carry a resident rescued from the landslide site in Naga City on the popular tourist island of Cebu on September 20, 2018. Alan Tangcawan, Agence France-Presse

MANILA - The Department Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday relieved top officials of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Central Visayas after a landslide in a quarry site in Naga City, Cebu killed at least 22 people.

Cimatu suspended MGB Region 7 Director Loreto Alburo, Assistant Regional Director Gerry Mahusay, Supervising Geologists Dennis Aleta and Chief Geologists Al Emil Berador from their posts effective Sept. 21.

DENR Undersecretary for Policy & Planning Jonathan Leones told DZMM radio that there were lapses in an earlier advisory released by the MGB, which stated that cracks in the quarry site in Naga City did not pose any threat to the community. 

“Talagang may pagkukulang na ginawa diyan (There were lapses there). Kaya daliang sinuspinde ng ating kalihim ang mga officials na iyan na nagbigay ng may kakulangan at maling impormasyon sa ating lokal na pamahalaan (That's why the secretary immediately suspended the officials who gave insufficient and wrong information to the local government)," Leones said. 

Cimatu said the DENR is sending a team from Manila to thoroughly investigate the incident in Naga City.

"I have created the technical team to determine the cause of the landslide," Cimatu told reporters. 

Cimatu also suspended quarrying operations in at least 6 regions including Central Visayas and ordered the review of operations nationwide effective Sept. 21.

“I ordered the review and assessment of all quarry operations all over the country to determine the safety of the quarry operations in the area most especially the surrounding community,” Cimatu said. 

The suspension order would allow the government the re-validate quarrying activities amid intense and frequent rains due to climate change, Leones said.