Davao Oriental governor asks SP to declare state of calamity

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 January) — Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon on Monday asked the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to declare the province under a state of calamity following the massive devastation due to floods brought by a Low Pressure Area off the northeastern part of Mindanao, provincial information officer Karen Lou Deloso said.

In a statement, Deloso said at least 8,000 families had evacuated as of Monday. Among the areas heavily affected by the floods are the towns in the eastern seaboard and parts of the province’s gulf towns.

She said seven people have been reported killed, 23 injured and 2 missing in the province. Six of the fatalities were from Sitio Bangol, Barangay Tubaon in Tarragona town and one was in Marayag, Lupon town.

Flashfloods in barangay Marayag in Lupon town swept away houses and carried huge rocks and debris down to the village’s center, she added.

Deloso said towns in the East Coast have been isolated from the rest of the province. These are Manay, Caraga Baganga, Cateel, and Boston.

She quoted Malanyaon as having said the problem now is how to send relief goods to these towns as all routes are currently impassable.

Deloso said the nonstop torrential rains also damaged houses, bridges and other infrastructure.

Destroyed were Quinonoan Bridge in Manay, Lumao Bridge in Barangay Alegria and Papag-Taytayan Bridge in Cateel, San Jose Bridge, San Pedro Bridge and the Manurigao Bridge in Caraga.

The Manurigao Bridge which was replaced by bailey panels after typhoon Pablo was totally washed out.

In addition, the coffer dam of the P252-million Cateel Irrigation Project in Barangay Aragon was also washed out when the river swelled, she said.

The floods also damaged 3,561 hectares of corn and 4,723 hectares of rice in the province. Other crops were also destroyed, she added.

For her part, Malanyaon tasked focal persons in each municipality to procure goods from local stores to augment the already pre-positioned relief supplies for distribution.

On Monday, the governor signed a memorandum of agreement with the provincial office of the National Food Authority (NFA) that the provincial government will purchase all available stocks of rice from NFA’s local warehouses to be used in relief distribution.

Two Philippine Army helicopters and a Navy boat have been transporting relief goods to the flood-hit areas, Deloso said.

Meanwhile, Malanyaon said residents will no longer be allowed to build shanties in the flooded areas, as these will be included in the list of danger zones. She said the Mines and Geosciences Bureau will arrive this week to assess these areas.

Aside from Davao Oriental whose Sannguniang Panlalawigan is expected to heed the governor’s request in its session today, four towns and one city hit by floods have been placed under a state of calamity. These are San Francisco in Agusan del Sur; Kapalong, New Corella and Carmen in Davao del Norte; and Butuan City, according to the Philippine Information Agency. (MindaNews)