In order to reduce risks associated with landslides, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is now funding a program that works on sensor-based landslide monitoring.
Tagged as Development and Deployment of Early Warning System for Deep-Seated Catastrophic Landslides (DEWS-L), it uses the technical resources of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and of the University of the Philippines Diliman Campus (UP-Diliman).
PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum, Jr. himself personally wrote Gov. Edgar M. Chatto earlier this month informing the latter of the program.
The DEWS-Landslide Team conducted a reconnaissance fieldwork in Bohol earlier this year.
Based on its criteria, it was able to recommend fifty deployment sites in the country for the programâ€™s landslide monitoring system, where Barangay Banlasan in Calape was identified as one of them.
The letter from Dir. Solidum requested Gov. Chatto to approve the reconnaissance fieldwork in Bohol; and at the same time, endorse to the Municipality of Calape the proposed program for landslide monitoring.
Dir. Solidum also requested for the governorâ€™s assistance in the acquisition of permit from the siteâ€™s landowner so that the Team could deploy the sensors in his estate for the success of the program.
Three representatives from UP and PHIVOLCS came over Thursday to meet with Gov. Chatto to personally follow-up on Dir. Solidumâ€™s requests; and, to consequently discuss with Mayor Sulpicio Yu, Jr. the proposed protocol for testing and implementing the landslide monitoring system.
To initiate the program implementation in said town, UP and PHIVOLCS will conduct a series of activities aimed to actively engage the Provincial, Municipal, and the Barangay, specifically area residents, and local non-government organizations (NGOs) with mandates similar to or in line with the programâ€™s objectives.
Initial set of activities consists of consultations leading to the drafting of a landslide early warning system (LEWS) protocol and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the involved parties.
A pre-seminar training needs assessment (TNA) for the participants would be necessary and also, a two-and-a-half day seminar/workshop on the LEWS will be conducted.
For the TNA, the DEWS-Landslide Team would need key informants from the Provincial Government who are knowledgeable of, and are directly involved in, the provinceâ€™s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Program.
The seminar/workshop will have 55 participants with the following breakdown in representation: Provincial LGU â€“ 5; Municipal LGU â€“ 10; Barangay LGU â€“ 15; Community residents â€“ 20; and 5 from NGOs.
The Team would be asking for the landownerâ€™s approval to conduct drilling and soil investigation in the area and to establish a temporary camp for the drilling contractors so they could install the sensor system.
The Director is also asking for the Provincial Governmentâ€™s assistance on specific activities related to the installation, such as: the mobilization of drilling equipment to the site; digging of two or three test pits with a diameter of 0.4-.-5 meters and depth of 0.5-0.75 meters; drilling of three boreholes 5-10 centimeters in diameter with depth ranging from 20-40 meters; sampling of materials from the boreholes for testing purposes; installation of three sensor columns into the boreholes; construction of a housing for the exposed end of each sensor column, each housing to permanently occupy a minimal area of 0.5 meter x 0.5 meter; setting-up of a solar panel or link-up to the local power grid; installation of an automated weather system; and the last, which is optional, 1-2 boreholes for the installation of a piezometer or groundwater sensor.
These sensors, according to Dir. Solidum, will be permanently installed in the land.
However, if subsequently, the program declares in writing the sensors to be non-functional and beyond repair, the landowner has the option to remove the sensor housings, as well as the buried sensors, and use the area as he wishes.
The earliest drilling and installation of the sensors are scheduled to be in December 2015. (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)