1 dead as rains batter CAR-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Monday, August 19, 2013
THE Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council went on red alert Sunday due to three days of relentless rains experienced in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
Ongoing search and rescue operations for missing persons are being undertaken in Mt. Province and Abra after rains brought by an enhanced southwest monsoon resulted in flooding and landslides.
An overloaded public utility jeepney, carrying 50 people, figured in an accident due to slippery roads in Sitio Caliat, Barangay Lenneng in Kabugao, Apayao
A lone casualty was identified as Franco Pedrito Cawayan, 30 years-old, was declared dead on arrival at the Tuguegarao Hospital while nine others were severely injured and are confined at Conner District Hospital and Tuguegarao Hospital.
A flashflood due to heavy rains occurred inside the Sumaguing Cave, a popular tourist destination in Sitio Ambasing, Sagada, Mountain Province, resulting in at least 30 people, mostly tourists, trapped, Sunday afternoon.
Police Regional Office-Cordillera spokesperson Davy Limmong said they rescued 13 Japanese nationals, two teachers from Pampanga, six tourists from Manila and seven local tour guides from Sagada, or some 29 people accounted for as of 10:30 p.m., Sunday, inside the three kilometer long cave.
However, rescuers halted rescue operations 2 a.m. Monday, and only resumed search and rescue operations around 8 a.m. as one female tourist identified as Irene Manaois of Dagupan, Pangasinan remained missing as of noon Monday.
Meanwhile, 20-year-old Monching Bakidan who was about to cross the Chico River in Sitio Pampang, Barangay Samoki, Bontoc, Mt. Province was reported missing by his companions after they went fishing in the swollen Chico River.
In the town of Tubo, Abra, 30-year-old Rosalino Calantay was also reported missing while attending to his fish cage along Damangil River, Barangay Amtuagan.
Some 49 families in Sitio Mamuyod, Barangay Ambassador, Tublay, Benguet were placed on preemptive evacuation due to the high possibility of landslide in the area.
Five national and provincial roads are closed in Benguet due to the previous typhoon and the continuous monsoon rains.
Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan suspended classes in all levels on Monday while ordering a halt in all small-scale mining operations also due to the heavy rains.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced class suspensions only in kindergarten and elementary levels creating confusion as Malacañang suspended classes in all school levels and work in government offices in the Baguio City and Benguet.
But Mayor Domogan stood firm on his initial announcement.
This, however, earned the ire of parents who expressed their dismay on social networking sites.
The mayor sent word for City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) chairman Andrew Alex Uy to inform National RRRMC executive director Alberto Del Rosario to take the case of Baguio City where the local government feels it apt to suspend classes only for kindergarten and elementary levels.
However, he stressed the City Government will follow whatever order Malacañang through the NDRRMC would come up after hearing his explanation of continued classes in high school and college levels in the city.
Ambuclao and Binga dams are also nearing critical levels on Monday resulting in the opening of six gates for each dam as reported by SN Aboitiz Power Corporation.
With continued heavy rains, Cordillera DRRMC chairman Uy said they are watching out for landslides as soil saturation exceeds normal levels. From August 17 to 18, monsoon rains have poured 150 millimeters of rain in just 24 hours.
Dam levels at Ambuclao was at 750.61 meters on Monday afternoon nearing its 752 meters critical level while Binga dam water level was at 574.11 meters near its critical level of 575 meters.
Due to the swelling of the Abra River, 33 families composed of 140 people were evacuated to the Our Lady of Pilar Parish in San Isidro, Abra.
At least seven landslides were reported in the Pidigan-San Isidro Road resulting to road closures.
Abra DRRMC reported continued monitoring of water levels in the Abra River as its tributaries continue to rise resulting to the washing out of at least two houses in Bangued, Abra.
City disaster officials since Saturday are monitoring water levels at the City Camp Lagoon for preemptive evacuation as emergency response teams are on standby at City Hall.
Four other national roads in Mt. Province, Ifugao and Abra remain closed to traffic due to continued rains as ongoing clearing operations are being conducted by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 20, 2013.