Bukidnon town isolated as floods destroy six bridges

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 December) —  Six bridges were destroyed in two towns in northern Bukidnon leaving the town of Baungon, in the province’s border with Cagayan de Oro City, “totally isolated,” Bukidnon Governor Alex Calingasan said Saturday morning.

Calingasan told MindaNews by telephone that no one can get in and out of Baungon town because all access points were blocked due to the destruction of three bridges. All three have become impassable, he added.

He said the Kabula Bridge, which connects Baungon and Cagayan de Oro, was totally wrecked. Tumalaong Bridge, connecting the town to another village was also destroyed, he added. He said the same is true with Kalag Bridge, which connects the town to the Municipality of Libona.

He said the bridges gave in to strong current from the rivers. No initial estimate of persons affected and total damage has been released yet. Calingasan said he has ordered the chiefs of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Provincial Engineer’s Office to conduct assessment and to recommend immediate response.

Three other bridges in Libona town were also reported destroyed. Calingasan said in Brgy. Crossing in Libona alone, four persons were reported missing and a total of 18 houses were washed out. He said those missing were taking a bath in a swimming pool in the village. He reported that the swimming pool was also washed out.

 Tropical storm Sendong left swiftly but took its toll also on the riverside communities in Valencia City, Aristotle Collado, public information officer of Valencia City told MindaNews.

He said the Pulangi River over flowed late Friday evening to early Saturday morning, flooding rice fields and houses in low lying areas. Collado said city rescuers used rubber boats to rescue a number of  itinerant sugarcane cutters in Brgy. Kahaponan who were stranded on a piece of land that got separated by floodwaters.

Capt. Alejandro Larosa, executive officer of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Valencia City said they have yet to conduct an assessment on how many persons were affected.

But Collado said at least 100 houses in Purok 1, Brgy. Batangan just across the Pulangi were under water. He estimated water level in the houses as of 8:30 a.m. to be hip level or about close to a meter high.

Radio station DXDB reported that residents in Purok 2, Brgy. Poblacion saw three bloated cows floating in the Pulangi River.  Floodwaters also did not spare a back hoe parked near the Pulangi River, where the Department of Public Works and Highways is constructing an alternative bridge connecting Poblacion and the interior villages.

Collado reported about three houses were also washed out in Purok 2, Brgy. Poblacion. He confirmed reports that flooded areas included Puroks 1,7, 11, and 12, all in Brgy. Poblacion.

As of  10 a.m. water had not yet subsided in Batangan and neighboring villages. He added that Batangan, a riverside village, was the worst hit based on initial assessment.

But the greater damage, Collado said, is in the “City of Golden Harvest’s” farmlands. He said overflowing water from the Pulangi River passed through an irrigation canal from Brgy. Lumbayao. He said the canal’s gate, now underwater, was not closed.

Arsenio Alagenio, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said they have not received reports of flooding, landslide and other emergencies from other towns as of Saturday morning.

Virginia Flores, executive officer of the Malaybalay CDRRMC said Malaybalay was spared from the floods and landslides at least based on reports reaching her office as of Saturday morning.

Power went off late Friday night in some parts of Malaybalay and Cabanglasan town but the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative announced power was restored  just in time for the Misa de Gallo at dawn. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)