The Davao de Oro provincial government will implement a “no-build zone” policy at the site of the February 6, 2024 landslide that killed at least 55 people in Barangay Masara in Maco town.

According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-11, the area covered by the landslide from the top of the mountain to the ground is about nine hectares. The area below covered by mud and rocks measures 700 meters.

“Pag sinabing no build zone, wala po talaga tayong itatayo regardless kung ano po iyon,” MGB-11 Chief Geologist, Beverly Mae Brebante, said.

The area has already been declared a “no-build zone," however, houses, a barangay hall, and schools were still built there.

Governor Dorothy Gonzaga said residents have been living there even before she became the governor.

“But as soon as na-experience ang series of earthquakes last 2022, mao na gyud nang advice daan. I could only say for the past administration na since hindi pa na-relocate ang mga tao, they had to syempre give the semblance of normalcy sa life sa community... syempre, merong school doon, meron ding barangay hall kasi hindi pa nailipat ang community. Alangan naman wala silang school? Saan pupunta kung nangangailangan ng barangay kapitan?” Gonzaga said.

Apex Mining, employer of a number of people who perished in the landslide, even reportedly provided a relocation site but residents went back to their homes because they reportedly did not want to be far away from their source of livelihood. 

At least two buses ferrying workers of the mining company were buried in the landslide.

Gonzaga said the “no-build zone” policy will be enforced strictly this time and residents will stay at the evacuation centers until they are relocated.

The barangay council has identified possible relocation areas, but one is also landslide-prone, based on assessment of MGB-11.

The provincial government will also be stricter in enforcing regulations on mining, including small-scale mining.