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Lawmaker seeks help to prevent Mt. Arayat landslides

By Billy Begas

A lawmaker from Pampanga has asked government agencies to implement measures to prevent landslides in Mt. Arayat.

House Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said residents of Barangay San Juan BaƱo have been complaining that soil and debris flow from the summit of the mountain whenever there is a typhoon or heavy rain.

The residents told Gonzales that heavy downpours produced a large volume of surface runoff, generating rainwater and debris avalanches.

Gonzales has met with regional officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to discuss measures that could prevent landslides in communities around Mt. Arayat.

The DPWH proposed the installation of debris flow barriers along Sapang Maeyagas creek. These barriers are interlinked rings that can stop large debris and can absorb the downward force while allowing water and other small materials to pass through.

Other recommendations are the construction of slope protection structures, delineation and avoidance of risk areas, dredging and maintenance of original drainage and water flow, and clearing creeks.

The provincial government of Pampanga has ordered the creation of the Mt. Arayat Community Safety Task Force to ensure the safety of residents living near Mt. Arayat.

The PDRRMC has also established a Landslide Early Warning System that alerts high-risk communities through barangay-wide sirens and public address systems.