Evacuees from sinkhole area in Polomolok, South Cotabato return home

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Residents of a village in Polomolok town in South Cotabato who evacuated late last week due to the emergence of a sinkhole have returned to their homes on Wednesday.

Engr. Jonathan Pabulare, head of the Polomolok Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), said Thursday they allowed the 150 families who had evacuated from Purok Maunlad in Barangay Silway 8 to return home as the area is already considered safe.

He said such move was based on an assessment issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Region 12 regarding the status of the sinkhole in the area.

On Monday, MGB-12 personnel conducted an assessment on the sinkhole, which was measured at around 40 feet deep and 50 feet in diamater.

“Based on the MGB’s findings, there were no hollow portions underneath the sinkhole and in portions of the nearby community so the area is considered safe,” he said in a radio in interview.

Local residents said the sinkhole initially emerged around dawn on Thursday week following reported rumbling sounds underneath the site.

The municipal government, through the MDRRMO, ordered forced evacuation in the area due to concerns on the safety of residents.

Citing their assessment, MGB-12 chief Constancio Paye said the sinkhole is only limited at the site.

He said their personnel evaluated the sinkhole site and nearby areas using a ground penetrating radar.

“There was no extended hollow portion underground there and it (sinkhole) already stopped expanding,” he said.

Paye explained that sinkholes are geological phenomena that is characterized by ground or land subsidence.

He said underground rocks dissolve in water over time and eventually create hollow portions underneath the surface.

The official said they recommended to the Polomolok local government the immediate covering or filling of the sinkhole to ensure the safety of local residents.

Pabulare said they are now working on the filling of the site that requires an estimated 1,000 loads of soil.

He said they have identified quarry sites in Barangays Upper Klinan and Glamang as sources of the filling materials.

He said fruit giant Dole Philippines Inc., which is based in the municipality, has signified intention to provide equipment and fuel to facilitate the filling of the sinkhole. PNA/northboundasia.com