|ESSC to upload high-resolution MGB geohazard maps in website|
|Wednesday, 11 January 2012|
The Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) will upload the geohazard maps of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) on its website by the end of this month to enable any community or individual to access and use for decision making in flooding and landslide risks, MGB Director Leo Jasareno reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last 7 January.
The geohazard maps, which take up 60 gigabytes and consist of 700 sheets, are of high resolution unlike those currently posted on MGB's website, Jasareno said. In these geohazard maps, the color-coded natural hazards -landslides, floods and flashfloods - are superimposed on the topographic map of the Philippines, from the province down to the municipal and barangay level.
The maps are on a scale of 1:50,000 (1 cm in the map corresponds to 500 meters on the ground). Jasareno said the MGB is magnifying the maps to a scale of 1 to 10,000 (1 cm is to 100 meters on the ground).
Also furnished digital copies of the maps, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN and GMA News have agreed to upload these on their websites or portals, too, according to Jasareno.
"You can access it anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection. It's viewable, printable and downloadable for free," said Jasareno. "Where you're staying, you can tell which hazards your barangay is vulnerable to. They can be used interactively," he added. "So there won't be any more excuses for public officials and even residents to ignore the map and its recommendations," Jasareno noted.
"We just want to raise the awareness of everyone on disasters such as floods and landslides. We want to reach out to the LGUs and the people, we want to maximize the use of the information to the lowest unit of society given the technology,'' he said in a telephone interview.
The maps could come in handy in weather forecasts. Television or online news could flash the geohazard maps of provinces, towns, or barangays that are in the path of a storm and vulnerable to either landslide or flooding, and promptly warn people, according to Jasareno.
The maps are "lifesavers'' but would be effective only if they are actually heeded, he added.
"Our maps are straightforward, scientific and technical. But beyond the maps are the social issues that the local officials have to deal with. They have to evacuate hundreds of people. We can make recommendations but these require resources," he noted.
Commenting on the landslide in Pantukan in Compostela Valley last 5 January, killing at least 25 miners, Jasareno said, "If the maps were followed, there would have been no casualties."
Meanwhile, in the wake of the Pantukan disaster, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje reiterated his appeal in a 5 January press statement to all local government officials to revisit the geohazard maps distributed by MGB and institute mitigating measures to shield communities from danger.
He also asked the same officials to cease from further issuing small-scale mining (SSM) permits as the DENR no longer issues environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) for SSM.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 January 2012 )|