Heavy monsoon rains cause road closures-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, August 9, 2012
SIX roads in the Cordillera region remained closed and in close-open situation due to recurring landslides caused by rains brought by the southwest monsoon or Habagat.
Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) assistant regional director Alex Uy reported road closures at Abra-Kalinga Road (Cutop Section), Baguio-Bua-Itogon Road in Itogon, Baguio-Nueva Vizcaya Road (Guesset and Tinongdan Sections), Baguio-Bontoc Road (Benenas Section) and Mt. Province-Nueva Vizcaya Road (Bayyo and Mt. Polis Sections).
The continuous rains also affected the agriculture sector as crop damages amounting to P16.3 million were reported in Abra, Kalinga, Benguet and Mt. Province.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala who arrived in Baguio City last Monday said food staples such as rice and corn were hardly affected by the rains while affected farmers were already extended with certified seeds to replant affected farms.
Alcala said High Value Commercial Crops such as upland vegetables from Benguet were the most affected with some P10 million in damages reported.
He said this is the result of the forced harvest of vegetables by upland farmers to avoid produce from being affected by the typhoon.
He said upland vegetables are now priced low due to oversupply while prices of these vegetables remained stable as roads, particularly the Halsema Highway and Marcos Highway catering to large trucks containing vegetable supply to Metro Manila, remained open and were cleared immediately during landslides.
He said the Department of Agriculture remains focused on giving assistance to affected farmers by providing them with certified seeds and ensuring prices of upland vegetables remain affordable despite the rains.
He said flooded areas in the North Luzon Expressway may also lead to the delay in arrival of vegetables in Metro Manila as Balintawak area, where most of the vegetables are unloaded remains closed. These areas remain flooded Tuesday due to the overflowing of dams and rivers in Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, Uy said the OCD-CAR remained on red alert status since last week during the onslaught of Typhoon Gener to monitor disasters.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) sent their geologist Tuesday to monitor and observe ground movement at Sitio Tabak, Bulalacao, Mankayan, Benguet where preemptive evacuation among residents in the area was already ordered.
Some 12 families in Mankayanan and Bakun, Benguet, are still under preemptive evacuation due to the possibility of landslides in their area.
OCD-CAR also sought the assistance of Philex Mining Corporation for the trapped miner identified as 33-year-old Felipe Plimaco at Bila, Bokod, Benguet.
The miner was trapped at one of the tunnels of a small-scale mining site at Barangay Bila since the afternoon of August 3. Rescue operations are still ongoing as of this posting Wednesday. Rescuers are approximately three meters away from the trapped miner.
In Balsigan village, a landslide was also reported affecting some three houses with one house left almost hanging by the steep slope.
“The area was visited by OCD with geologists from MGB. Preemptive evacuation has been implemented. Families affected are now staying with their relatives,” Uy said.
Power outages were also reported in some sitios of Atok, Kabayan, Kibungan, Kapangan, Tuba, La Trinidad, Itogon, Tublay, Sablan and some areas in Baguio City where the Benguet Electric Cooperative immediately restored power.
The City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council also activated their operations center monitoring sink holes, landslide and flood prone areas in the city, including the often flooded City Camp Lagoon.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also reported P916,209.08 assistance was already given to affected families.
Monetized cost of assistance from local governments was P152,029.58 while DSWD through its regional office extended P764,179.50 worth of relief goods, water containers, blankets, clothing, and other non-food items.
The DSWD Cordillera has recorded a total of 2,211 families or 8,463 persons affected after Gener and continuous monsoon rains battered the six provinces of the Cordillera, including Baguio City.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 09, 2012.