DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio ordered the 48-hour closure along Carlos P. Garcia Highway (Diversion Road), Old Dumpsite section or from the Shrine Road to Matina Pangi, to give way to the clearing and repair works following the minor landslide triggered by a series of heavy rainfall.
This means, the Diversion Road will be closed until Sunday morning, and motorists coming from the south should expect massive traffic jam similar, but not quite like Friday since it's a weekend.
In an interview with SunStar Davao, Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) operation officer Rodrigo Bustillo said that they initially recommended to the mayor the closure of roads Thursday evening because of the minor landslide.
The closure caused massive traffic jam as all vehicles are now passing through McArthur Highway, including cargo trucks. Several office workers and students from Matina down south farther on to Toril were stuck in traffic for hours.
Duterte-Carpio released an order for the road closure, prohibiting entry of all types of vehicles to avoid further inconvenience to the public and to also protect motorists from another landslide.
"Even Thursday evening, we recommended for the closure of Diversion Road because of traffic. The mayor gave a directive earlier for 48 hours closure while the repair is ongoing in the landslide area," he said.
The public is advised to avoid the road and take the alternative routes, although very few are available for this section.
Various agencies coordinated to fast track the repair and to restore the normal flow of traffic including Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH, Philippine National Police (PNP), barangay officials, Davao City Social Service Development Office (CSSDO), Davao City Engineer's Office (CEO), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and Davao City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), he said.
Bustillo said that DPWH started the repair and implementation of mitigating measures to prevent further erosion.
Aside from the heavy rain that has softened the soil, the constant vibration of passing cargo trucks caused the soil to loosen some more.
Meanwhile, Bustillo said that evacuation is still ongoing for residents. A total of seven families were evacuated Friday morning. Evacuees were temporarily sheltered in Los Amigos, Tugbok District while some took refuge with relatives.
They have also conducted force evacuation among residents dwelling near danger zone. However, there are still families who insist to stay but they were told of the danger of staying in the area.
So far, no casualties were recorded by their office related to the landslide and flooding.
As of 3:30 p.m. Friday, the DPWH said "Soil stabilization/slope protection operations at the landslide area along the Diversion Road is ongoing."
"Once completed, information will be immediately made available to the public. In the meantime, please continue to avoid the Diversion Road until further notice. The City Government of Davao and the Department of Public Works and Highways are working closely together to expedite clearing operations and ensure the safety of the public," the DPWH advisory read.
Earlier, the City Government warned the public on the imminent danger of landslide in Shrine Hills and Diversion Road in Barangay Langub.
Emmanuel Jaldon, head of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center of Davao, said the ground cracks of the upper portion of the hill indicated movements.
In the weather forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa), Mindanao will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies apart from isolated rainshowers mostly in the afternoon or evening due to localized thunderstorms.
Winds will be light to moderate coming from the South to Southeast with slight to moderate seas.