SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – The heavily opposed controversial diversion road here at the borders of the Mission Compound takes a new argument in favor of opposing petitioners.
“Sagada being underlain by Karst topography may well indicate that the Mission Compound is relatively fragile for major infrastructural development.”
Mining engineer and St Mary’s School alumnus Jerry Abeya in his letter to Bishop Brent Alawas of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) has this to say regarding the opposed proposed diversion road projected to be built from the Poblacion terminal joining the Dantay-Sagada National Road at the Daoangan section.
Proposed 700 meter road follows a creek along Deccan to Sayocsoc sitios and moves upward below Saint Mary’s School to the borders of private lots and residences of Daoangan.
Above the Deccan-Sayocsoc creek is a sloping area with the softball ground above and the other side of residences built along the opposite slope on to the main road.
While on proposal stage before the Regional Development Council for funding endorsement, petitioners of nearly 300 signatories of Sagada based overseas and nearly 500 signatories from homeland Sagada opposing said proposed diversion road ask congressman Maximo Dalog to withdraw his endorsement and support building of parking spaces instead.
The tourist town of Sagada incurs heavy traffic jams during weekends of holidays when influx of tourists visit the community which boasts of natural beauty spots such as Sumaguing Cave, rice terraces, Bumod-ok and Pongas Falls.
The comment of Abeya posted in Save Sagada Facebook Group was supported by mining engineer and geologist George Tauli who told Abeya, ”you are very right that Sagada is in atop a Karst topography (limestone rocks) so we see all around sinkholes with the most prominent at Kiltepan. Therefore the rocks are very porous and with sinkholes, here and there, that you will never know when to encounter them. In case you intersect one, you cannot imagine how many bags of cement or concrete are needed to fill them up".
"There were instances in recent news around the world that sinkholes swallowed whole buildings and cars along a highway in separate incidents....", Tauli added.
Abeya proposes “a thorough study to be first undertaken by a geology expert to determine any risks a major road could pose to Sagada’s Karst topography in the Mission Compound” while challenging the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) and the government “to determine in totality if the proposed new diversion road shall strike a harmony between economic development and environment.”
Addressing the Bishop and the Standing Committee who endorsed said road to address traffic issues, Abeya forwarded that “there should be no rush in constructing a major concrete road that could potentially permanently damage the landscape.”
The petitioning public also asked Bishop Alawas to cancel the Permit to Enter signed by him and witnessed by the Barangay Chairman of Patay Poblacion, the Standing Committee, and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) representative to enter, conduct and undertake, survey and occupy and do other construction activities in connection to the building of proposed diversion road.
Opposing Sagadians and parishioners of the Church of St Mary the Virgin would like the Mission Compound to stay as is and are wary of proposed diversion road posing threats of destroying the green belt, indiscriminate waste disposal, and destruction of a heritage site established a hundred years ago. ( Mountain Province Exponent, May 10, 2015)