Exodus of geologists hampers mapping project in Philippines

Exodus of geologists hampers mapping project in Philippines


Manila, Philippines, November 29,2007:- Like many professional Filipinos, geologists working for the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have been joining the exodus for greener pastures.

This has put a crimp on the government mapping of the country to identify areas prone to landslides and flash floods, said an MGB official.

Antonio Apostol, MGB Geohazard Mapping project leader, admitted the geologists’ departure would adversely affect the Government’s Geohazard Mapping project scheduled to end in 2010.

Apostol said 70 of the MGB’s 120 geologists had resigned over the past several months to take higher paying jobs in mining companies here and abroad.
“There are only 40 to 50 geologists left in the MGB to continue the Geohazard Mapping project of the DENR,’’ he said.

With a smaller crew to do the work, Apostol estimated the MGB would be able to map out only 150 municipalities, instead of the ideal 250 municipalities, a year from 2008 to 2010. With the full complement of 120 geologists, the MGB was able to surpass Government Geohazard Mapping targets, he said.

The Geohazard Mapping project aims to cover a total of 1,660 municipalities and cities nationwide in the next three years. So far, 918 municipalities have been mapped out.

Apostol said the DENR Geohazard Mapping team was speeding up the identification of relocation sites in communities vulnerable to landslides and floods, and the production of geohazard maps, posters, videos, pamphlets and other materials for local government units.

Environment Secretary Lito Atienza had earlier said he would seek a higher budget for the DENR for 2008 and use the increase to hire more geologists.