Habagat, Storm Gorio spell problems for the Cordilleras

July 29, 2017 - 9:36 PM
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Vegetable truch accident Atok Benguet
Vegetable carrying truck slides down ravine in Atok, Benguet. PNA photograph

BAGUIO CITY – All provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMCs) in the Cordillera Region have gone on heightened alert as landslides and evacuations were reported in numerous parts of the Montañosa territories.

A summary released by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Cordillera in the afternoon of July 29 listed five landslides, of which four have apparently been cleared.

Foggy Benguet lanscape
Stormy weather and the southwest monsoon add to the dreary, foggy Montañosa landscape in the Cordilleras. Photographed by Aldwin Quitasol, News5 | InterAksyon

Because of the difficult terrain and poor communication, authorities said more details were still expected to be received in the coming days. But OCD noted there were no reported casualties and damages to property.

Some 11 families, corresponding to 47 persons, were preemptively evacuated in Tublay, Bakun, Benguet and Tadian, Mountain Province.

Three national roads are passable but only by one lane each, while five others are closed to traffic due to road cuts and slides.

A delivery truck loaded with freshly harvested vegetables fell in an eight-meter ravine around 2:00 p.m. on Friday in Atok Benguet, the town police chief said.

In a text message on Friday evening, Chief Inspector Ambot Sawatang, police chief of Atok town, said the KIA-FB delivery truck driven by Dalfo Gilberg Ramirez, 26, farmer from Sab-itan Alapang, Buguias, Benguet was negotiating the curved portion of the barangay road in Sitio Cattubong, Barangay Calasipan several meters from where the vegetables were being harvested when the driver lost control due to the slippery road and fell into the ravine.

The truck had just departed to deliver the vegetables to the trading post in La Trinidad, Benguet.

Police said the continuous heavy rains in Benguet on Friday have made the roads slippery in the area.

In Baguio, the recorded rainfall reached 206 mm from July 27 to July 29, 2017.

A municipalwide brownout in Buguias, Benguet was also reported on July 29.

Meanwhile, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Cordillera Office suspended hiking activities at Mt. Purgatory and Mount Pulag in Benguet.

Also, local authorities in Sagada suspended caving activities for safety reasons.