Cimatu urges public to be vigilant for landslides, floods

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has urged residents and communities living in geohazard-prone areas to be vigilant and to take precautionary measures against possible landslides and flash floods during heavy downpour.

“Residents and communities near mountains and within low-lying areas should be proactive by taking appropriate measures to minimize, if not prevent, any adverse impact of calamities,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu made the call after continuous heavy rains due to enhanced southwest monsoon or “habagat” triggered flash floods in Metro Manila and landslides in nearby provinces last weekend, leaving at least three people dead and displaced over 50,000 residents.

“The best way to prevent loss of lives and damage to properties during floods and landslides is for people to take precautionary measures,” Cimatu said. “By being prepared, we can reduce vulnerability to these natural hazards.”

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a line bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has come up with tips and safety instructions during rain-induced landslides.

Antonio Apostol, officer-in-charge at MGB’s Lands Geological Survey Division, said residents should look out for fallen trees or fences, as these are signs of landslides.

“There are also other signs such as forms of water being blurred with soil and a loud resonance signifying a landslide coming,” he said.

Apostol urges residents to coordinate with concerned local government units and be updated on the latest news and landslide advisories issued by the DENR and MGB.

“Should the landslide take place when residents are inside their respective homes, if you are not able to go out, stay below sturdy furniture like tables and desks,” Apostol said.

For those outside their homes during a landslide, Apostol said he would advise them to go to the nearest higher and safer ground.

“If there’s no time to look for safer areas, just coil your body to protect your head from the incoming landslide,” he said.

Once the landslide is over, the MGB official said residents must immediately go to a safer place far away from the landslide area.

“Missing residents should also be reported to the concerned authorities, so that they can be included in the search and rescue operations,” he added.

Damaged electric posts or telephone lines should also be duly reported to the concerned offices. Residents can go back to their respective homes once local disaster risk officials have announced that the area is already safe.

“To be sure, they should check their homes if there are damages to be repaired so that it can be remedied immediately,” Apostol said. # 


DENR, Steel Asia partner to protect environment

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is partnering with Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp. to implement a community-based program whose goal is to protect the environment and support local communities.

The partnership was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and Steel Asia chairman and CEO Ben Yao.

The MOU commits the DENR and Steel Asia to collaborate on creating “mini ecological economic zones” in areas where plants of the country’s largest steel producer are located, and using a framework called sustainable integrated area development (SIAD).

SIAD is a strategy that weaves environmental considerations with social justice and human development—where local communities are provided with sustainable livelihood and trained to conserve the environment.

“The MOU with Steel Asia aims to harness human and physical resources, promote the best practices, and implement programs for the environment, as well as strengthen the DENR’s partnership with the private sector,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu said that even before partnering with the DENR, Steel Asia has become “a model in responsible enterprise pursuing the principles of sustainable development” being one of the early proponents of “green” manufacturing in the country.

For his part, Yao shared his vision of the Philippines as the world’s most modern steel industry “without having to harm the environment.”

“Guided by the DENR’s directions, we have done this [partnership] in order to achieve this goal of an environmentally friendly future,” he pointed out.

Under the MOU, the DENR and Steel Asia agreed to work together in implementing programs seeking to “reduce carbon footprints in the environment, alleviate solid waste management and generally help improve the ecological condition of the country.”

These programs will be carried out within a period of three to six years in barangays or municipalities where Steel Asia’s plants are located.

Each covered site should range from 5 to 10 hectares, or an aggregate of no less than 100 hectares for all the sites combined.

Each specific project or site shall be covered by a memorandum of agreement to be executed by the DENR and Steel Asia.

Steel Asia agreed to provide technical assistance and support to the DENR, as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program. # 


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