Diwalwal declared as ‘no man’s land’
Continuing threats of landslides have forced the Compostela Valley government to declare the mining village of Mt. Diwata also known as Diwalwal in Monkayo as no longer fit for human habitation.
In a meeting of the Diwalwal Crisis Committee last week, Governor Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy, chair of the crisis body, said Sitio Mabatas in barangay Ulip a few kilometers from the mining village is being considered as relocation site for thousands depending on smallscale mining and related industries whose houses sit atop areas prone to mass movement.
When I say relocation site, I mean permanent not temporary, Uy told the body formed last month as cracks developed in three puroks amid heavy rains that pounded Diwalwal, prompting massive evacuation of about 300 families.
Mt. Diwata has a population of about 30,000. Landslides—which have already killed hundreds—remains a perennial threat since gold was discovered in the barangay in the 80s, luring small scale miners into unregulated operations. Today, Mt. Diwata stands on loose soil crisscrossed by underground tunnels.
Joining the February 4 meeting of the crisis body, were Congressman Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora , Regional Disaster Coordinating Council regional director Liza Maso, Nora Alicante of National Task Force Diwalwal, Brgy. Capt. Franco Tito, Monkayo Vice Mayor Cabag who represented Mayor Manuel Brillantes, PSupt. Ronald de la Rosa, Major Rolando Rodil of the 25th IB and directors of other national line agencies.
Uy said he would form a technical working group to conduct a feasibility study on Mabatas as permanent relocation site.