Responsible DEvelopment for Ma-a Shrine Hills of Davao City, Philppines

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Information about Responsible DEvelopment for Ma-a Shrine Hills of Davao City, Philppines

Published on January 26, 2008

Author: MariaLinda



Position Statement Of Homeowners Federation Re Maa Shrine Hill

Davao City, Philippines


Satellite Picture of Ma-a Shrine Hill with Overlay of the Proposed DMC-UPDI Subdivision Plan


Ma-a Shrine Hill Soil Sample







November 6, 2006 Side section of Davao City hills weak: geologist By Antonio M. Ajero DAVAO CITY -- The top portion of Shrine Hills in Matina in Davao City is stable, but its anticline or flanks are weak, said Diana Kristina B. Velasco, senior geologist of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Southern Mindanao. Velasco's group did terrain mapping of the area. A terrain map designates the different landforms and their vulnerabilities, said Velasco in a speech on Davao's geo-hazards before the Rotary Club of East Davao recently. "We have determined that the entire Shrine Hills, the highest portion at top of the ridge is stable. It does not have much movement. But the flanks are moving. They are weak and we know there are a lot of developments on the slopes," Velasco said. She said the mines bureau and the Davao City Government are aware that there are new subdivisions whose developers have put in engineering solutions to the problem. She said that generally the geo-hazards in the hills could be mitigated. Velasco showed Rotarians sample photos of the Cherry Hills Subdivision tragedy in Antipolo, Rizal wherein 57 people perished and hundreds of millions of pesos worth of investments and property became either water or mud as a result of the avalanche. "The good thing (that resulted from) Cherry Hills is that all subdivisions are now required to pass a geologic assessment by the mines bureau before developers are allowed to proceed," Velasco said. She also presented images of the St. Bernard, Southern Leyte landslide wherein more than 2,000 lives were lost. The terrain mapping and investigations made by the mines bureau showed that in the Davao Region it is Davao Oriental and some portions of Davao del Sur that are highly vulnerable to geologic

hazards because they are part of the Mindanao eastern seaboard. "The Philippines is a chop suey of natural hazards, with all disasters happening here except snow-related hazards," she said. The Philippines is among the most disaster-prone countries in the world, ranking among the top in the list in a study made by the United Nations. "On the average, we have 20 typhoons a year, earthquakes practically every day, aside from volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods," she said. (November 6, 2006) Sun.Star Source: Side section of Davao City hills weak: geologist…..... Page 2











The Philippines: Why 60 people died in the Cherry Hills housing estate As many as 109 people died in the Philippines when Typhoon Olga provoked torrential rains and flooding throughout much of South East Asia in early August. The areas worst affected were Manila, Pampanga, Rizal and Pangasinan. Over 73,000 people were forced to leave their homes and seek shelter and food in local halls, schools and clubs. Some 900 families were evacuated from the town of Valenzuela as flood water rose to dangerous heights. The majority of the deaths were concentrated in one small housing estate—the Cherry Hills subdivision in Antipolo, a Manila suburb, and home to hundreds of families paying off low-cost, concrete houses. On August 3 the subdivision became a death trap when its foundations filled with water and the whole complex slid down the hill on which it was built. Two days later, the Philippines Daily Inquirer reported that local authorities had warned residents to leave the area some four hours before the landslide, when cracks appeared in roads and walls. But as families packed their belongings, houses higher up on the hill suddenly slid, crushing those below beneath tons of rubble and mud. Rescue teams lacked adequate equipment. They were forced to use backhoes to shift concrete slabs and other debris in an attempt to rescue those buried. Bodies were still being recovered weeks later. The official death toll from Cherry Hills alone has reached 60. Government officials involved in the development of the estate immediately denied allegations by residents that the disaster was the product of inept construction. A planning officer for the Antipolo City council quoted in the media claimed that “the tragedy was beyond human control”. But the evidence that has emerged contradicting this claim is overwhelming. A preliminary investigation has begun into Philjas, the Japanese-Filipino consortium that developed Cherry Hills. Charges that could be laid against the company include imprudence, resulting in multiple homicide. The developers built the estate in an area well known for its landslides, digging trenches between the houses to divert run-off. But these trenches retained water, which then seeped under the concrete foundations and

Why 60 people died in the Cherry Hills housing estate.. p2 ultimately caused the buildings to slide and collapse, one on top of the other. A geology professor, Victor Madlambayan, told the Inquirer that “an exposed cross-section of a mountain behind the subdivision showed horizontal layers indicating that the area was a former lake bed. Looking at the ruins, it appears that the houses were crushed, not only because of the collapse of the cliff, but movement of the entire foundations of the subdivision due to clay used under the foundations,” he said. He pointed to the earthquake in Dagupan City in 1991, where houses and buildings built on a former river delta had collapsed causing substantial loss of life. “This is a lesson for everybody. They could have avoided developing that area for a subdivision. We could have avoided a repeat of Dagupan”. The Real Estate and Developers Group, an industry association, met in Antipolo following the disaster. Its geologist Joel Muyco admitted: "In view of the high slope and unstable terrain in which a portion of the Cherry Hills subdivision is situated, extra engineering interventions should have been considered and implemented to address the extra risks involved.” An initial report by the Philippines government ombudsman damned the housing and local government bureaucracy for allowing the estate to be built and inhabited. Twenty-three officials have been placed on six-month preventative suspension while prosecutors assess their culpability and possible criminal charges for “graft and conspiracy”. The report points out that the estate was built in 1991 but only received clearance from the Environment Department in 1994, due to continued violations of procedures. It finds that housing regulatory bodies issued final permits and licenses in favour of Philjas despite the non-compliance. Filipino president Joseph Estrada, who attempts to present himself and his government as “friends of the poor”, denounced

Why 60 people died in the Cherry Hills housing estate…. p3 the developers, in an effort to score political mileage from the disaster. Information soon came to light, however, making clear that culpability for the Cherry Hills tragedy extends to the highest echelons of the Filipino government. Prior to Typhoon Olga, the Cherry Hills Homeowners Association and environment protection groups had organised protests, petitions and letters to government warning of the danger posed to the estate by flash-flooding, especially during the torrential typhoon rains. In particular, they pointed to the effects of over-quarrying on mountain ranges around Antipolo Rodriguez and San Mateo, and rainforest clearing in the vicinity of the Cherry Hills subdivision. Petitioners had directly addressed the Estrada government's environment minister, complaining that quarrying companies were operating at night to avoid detection. All pleas for government intervention and assistance were ignored. The removal of soil and vegetation in the higher reaches was a major factor in the volume of water that travelled down the Cherry Hill slope on August 3. The Real Estate and Developers Group has also revealed that the lax building guidelines, known as BPP20, that prevailed under the Marcos regime, were retained by the subsequent governments of Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Estrada. Certain definite conclusions can already be drawn: while typhoons and rain are “beyond human control”—the death of 60 people at Cherry Hill was not. Note from MariaLinda: The Source of this article is found at:

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