GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The National Housing Authority (NHA) has signified its intention to help the municipal government of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato in developing resettlement sites in the area for residents affected by recent disasters.
This was according to Lake Sebu Mayor Floro Gandam, who spoke on Tuesday about the NHA’s prospective role in arranging for the permanent relocation of some 128 families of Barangay Lamcade that remained displaced since June due to the emergence of ground fissures or tension cracks in at least four sitios (hamlets).
He said the agency initially committed to helping build houses for the affected residents from Sitios Tekansad, Upper Lemnongu, Lower Lemnongu, and Tbob.
“We’re currently processing the purchase of the relocation sites,” he said in an interview over radio station Bombo Radyo here.
Aside from the 128 families in Lamcade, the local government is also pushing for the relocation of 56 other households from flood-hit portions of Barangay Talisay.
The NHA provides financing assistance to local governments for the development of resettlement housing sites through the Resettlement Assistance Program for Local Government Units (LGUs).
The LGUs could get as much as PHP25 million in funding, as well as additional grants for housing projects.
Gandam said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 12 (Soccsksargen) has approved at least three potential relocation sites for the displaced households of Lamcade, which were evacuated by the municipal government in mid-June.
The preemptive evacuation stemmed from the occurrence of new tension cracks that had already caused some landslides and closed a major road connecting to the town proper and other nearby villages.
The mayor said the relocation sites approved by MGB-12 are situated in Sitios Tekansad and Tebudtud.
He said most of the evacuees, whom he visited anew on Monday, are still staying in makeshift sheds by the roadside in Sitio Tekansad, which is close to the boundary of Barangays Lamcade and Lamdalag.
“We’re ironing out some issues with the land to make the (purchase) process right and legal,” he said.
The MGB-12 initially recommended the relocation of households in parts of Lamcade in 2018 following the emergence of tension cracks in the area, which were identified in its geohazard mapping as “moderate to highly susceptible to landslides.”
It said the area has steep slopes as well as “old and inactive landslides” that could further collapse due to the continuing rains.
Gandam said they are continuously monitoring several areas in Lake Sebu that are considered highly prone to landslides and flash floods.
On October 31, he said a flash flood hit portions of Sitio Lubo in Barangay Ned but no casualties were reported.
He said the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) and officials of Barangay Ned are still assessing the affected sites, which included several resorts situated near rivers and waterfalls.
“We instructed the affected residents and resort owners to report the damages to us so we can provide them with some help,” he said.
Gandam said he directed the MDRRMO and concerned officials to relocate houses and other structures from the identified danger zones, especially in the buffer areas of critical rivers and other waterways. (PNA)