Landslide leads to collapse of barangay hall in Valencia, Negros Oriental

September 19, 2014 10:27 am 

DUMAGUETE CITY, Sept. 18 -– The barangay hall of Puhagan in Valencia, Negros Oriental collapsed Wednesday night due to continuous rains brought about by typhoon “Luis” which inundated many parts of the province this week.

An initial police report from the Valencia police station disclosed that the eastern portion of the two-story concrete barangay hall gave in to loosened soil although no one was reported injured in the incident which was reported to have occurred around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The police received information of the landslide from the president of the Valencia Emergency Rescue Unit (VERU) president, Noel Pis-an, who said a Puhagan barangay tanod (village watchman) while on tour duty saw the building starting to crumble.

A large portion of what is reportedly a dilapidated and unsafe building fell about 200 to 300 meters to the creek below, a police report said.

The police has estimated the cost of damage at more than P1 million.

Dems Demecillo, secretary of the Puhagan barangay council and a journalist, disclosed that about 60 percent of the already unoccupied barangay hall had collapsed.

According to him, the barangay hall was no longer being used by the Puhagan barangay council, who have in the past months held their regular meetings and activities at the house of the village chief, Leonarda Sarita.

Sarita was on her way to Kidapawan in Cotabato for an official engagement when the landslide incident occurred, Demecillo said.

Information reaching him disclosed the part of the building without slope protection had caved in and the barangay hall was cut in half. The office of the barangay chairman was spared, Demecillo said.

He went on to say all barangay properties that can be moved were already transferred to Sarita’s residence since March 2014 after the council was informed the building was no longer safe for occupancy and the mayor ordered evacuation from the compound.

Meanwhile, Demecillo disclosed that the Puhagan barangay council is currently negotiating for a relocation site with the Energy Development Corporation(EDC), the private company that owns the geothermal power plants in Valencia.

While negotiations are still on the drawing board, Demecillo disclosed that the Puhagan barangay council is asking EDC to provide the lot for the new barangay hall site.

In fact there will be joint ocular inspection by officials of Puhagan, EDC, Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday afternoon at the proposed relocation site.

If plans push through, EDC will allow the use of a one-hectare lot for the barangay facilities for the next 25 years under certain conditions to be stipulated in a contract, Demecillo disclosed.

EDC owns or has rights to majority of the forestall lands in that barangay as it is within the geothermal reservation area, according to Demecillo.

On funding concerns, the municipal government and the barangay will appropriate funds for the construction of the barangay hall as counterpart to the lot being negotiated with the EDC, he said.

The new Puhagan barangay hall will be built on a phase to phase basis with current immediate funds at P1 million from the Valencia municipal government and P240,000 from the barangay, Demecillo said.

He, however, disclosed that the barangay may realign some P2 million for the project, although this is subject for discussion and approval of the Sangguniang Barangay.

The LGU will also help with the engineering, plans and partly mobilization of heavy equipment and access road to the proposed site but again, all this is still under negotiations, Demecillo clarified. (PNA)

LAP/JFP

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