Cordillera residents warned of possible landslides amid rains

LANDSLIDE. The Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has warned residents of the region of possible landslides due to the continuous rainfall. An undated photo shows a landslide incident that damaged a road in the region. (Photo courtesy of Redjie Melvic Cawis/PIA-CAR)

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has again warned the public of more landslides as the habagat or southwest monsoon continues to bring rains to the region.

Albert Mogol, CDRRMC chairman and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director, in an interview on Saturday said, “saturated na masyado ang lupa sa bundok, mas malaki ang chance ng landslide kasi hindi na mahawakan ng lupa ang tubig (soil in the mountains is already very saturated that it cannot anymore hold the water so there is a bigger chance that landslide will happen)”.

He said it has been continuously raining for two weeks in this city and the provinces of Benguet, Abra, and Mountain Province, which started before the onslaught of Typhoon Fabian and since then continued due to southwest monsoon.

Mogol noted that from July 22 to 29 alone, the Cordillera region, particularly Baguio and Benguet, received 1,108 millimeters of rainfall.

This, he said, caused several incidents of small and big landslides in this city, Benguet, Abra, and Mountain Province, some of which caused damage to infrastructure and closure of roads.

“Chances are, we have a disaster waiting to happen,” Mogol said.

He recalled that when Typhoon Ompong hit the region in 2018, several major landslides occurred in the mining town of Itogon in Benguet, which claimed the lives of some 100 people. “A few days before we had Typhoon Ompong, we had continuous rains due to habagat. Our mountains were already soaked, having received 900 millimeters of rain brought by habagat,” he said.

Mogol said they look at historical records to properly assess the current situation and determine the appropriate actions to hopefully avoid the loss of lives.

He said the region recorded only one casualty due to “Fabian” and zero for the habagat.

“We hope this will continue, walang mamatay o masaktan kahit patuloy na masama ang panahon natin (no deaths or injuries even if we continue to have this bad weather),” he said.

Mogol said the local government of Itogon and the CDRRMC have issued a memorandum for the monitoring of mining activities. He added that local DRRM councils have been advised to inform people of possible evacuation.

Aside from landslides, he said they are also monitoring the possible swelling of rivers and waterways in Abra, Apayao, and a portion of Kalinga. (PNA)

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