There would be blood on our hands
There will be a study on the carrying capacity of Baguio City with respect to tourists and population. Included in that must also be the terrain’s ability to take the load of the requisite residences of denizens.
So many will say that a study which should have been conducted long ago, is not needed because just by looking at the density of buildings on steep slopes, a huge landslide is waiting to happen in many areas of the city. Such happened already in the early 70s. A big part of Aurora Hill came down all the way to Lower Brookside and many lost their lives. It was the headline story of the Daily Express which was the only national newspaper allowed during those first years of Martial Law. The slide viewed from a distance was conveniently splattered from just below the headline all the way down of the front page. It did not only paint a thousand words—more so are the innumerable wails of those buried alive. And the unmentionable tears of their loved ones, relatives and friends.
Why was a study not conducted then? Not even a geological one which should have pointed out dangers areas where houses and other buildings must not be built. Take this with recent pronouncements that about 80% of this region are landslide prone and we realize that we were and still are imbeciles.
This should be the most important part of the study being planned by NEDA-CAR as this means saving lives. While the city’s carrying capacity with respect to tourists (which causes pollution that is also slowly taking our lives), the impending loss of lives due to landslides must be of utmost concern.
And where were our leaders all this time? Sleeping on the job? Why are the city’s mountains now full of residences indiscriminately built? And where had been the bureaucrats of concerned government agencies?
The general public is also not blameless. Where have we been? We have not shouted or criticized enough.
As always, better late than never is the only thing we can say. But for every death in the future due to landslides, there would be blood on our hands.**