Saturday Feb, 29 2020 02:44:47 AM

Experts: Mt. Apo isn't erupting after earthquakes

Local News • 15:00 PM Sat Nov 30, 2019
322
By: 
John M. Unson
The calamity consensus-building dialogue was held at the North Cotabato provincial capitol.  (Contributed photo)

NORTH COTABATO  --- Experts on Friday allayed fears of an eruption of the Mt. Apo volcano following the recent earthquakes that jolted this province, something the local communities are so scared of.

Hermes Daquipa of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said, during a dialogue Friday with representatives from the Mines and Goesciences Bureau and provincial officials led by Gov. Nancy Catamco, that while the volcano on top of Mt. Apo is active, it does not contain magma that can flow down to villages along mountainsides.

Dozens of barangays in North Cotabato’s capital, Kidapawan City, and in nearby Makilala town are located either along the sides or at the foot of Mt. Apo, the country’s tallest mountain range covered with scattered tropical rainforests.

Friday’s dialogue at the provincial capitol in Barangay Amas in Kidapawan City was attended by local leaders from North Cotabato’s earthquake-wracked areas.

It was organized by Catamco’s office to determine the viability of returning evacuees to barangays ravaged by episodes of strong tremors that began with a magnitude 6.3 foreshock on November 16, followed by more than 2,000 aftershocks since, some even stronger.

MGB representatives had told local officials, among them Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, that the earthquakes were of tectonic origin and not due to a volcanic activity

Daquipa said the number of aftershocks in the past days have dwindled dramatically.

Experts told local executives present in the gathering that evacuees can construct new houses in their barangays as long as the structures are far from earthquake fault lines.

LGU officials have agreed to closely enforce the government’s building code, particularly on engineering calculations meant to ensure the durability of structures to be built based on duly-approved permits.

Melvin Sebua, regional MGB official, said evacuees from non-risky areas can start returning to their villages.

Engineers from the provincial government and regional Philvolcs and MGB officials have agreed to help oversee the return of evacuees to their barangays, particularly in areas that are safe from landslides.

Catamco, who belong to North Cotabato’s indigenous community, earlier cautioned against relocating tribes away from tremor-affected settlements to prevent losing domain over ancestral lands.

She said relocation and rehabilitation efforts for indigenous communities should be coordinated properly with tribal leaders, with officials of the National Commission on Indigenous People and local government executives.

Catamco said declaring any area in earthquake-ravaged tribal homelands as “no build zone” must be premised on consultations among stakeholders to ensure protection of the right to domicile of affected tribes. 

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