KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 5 July) – Classes have been suspended in some parts of North Cotabato as torrential rains battered the area since Wednesday night, while one municipality was declared under a state of calamity due to heavy flooding and landslides.
M’lang Mayor Russel Abonado suspended classes in barangays Dungguan and Banawa, both low-lying areas and near the Liguasan marsh and big bodies of water that overflowed since Wednesday night.
In Kidapawan City, Mayor Joseph Arellano Evangelista has declared suspension of classes in Barangay Ilomavis, a hinterland village located within the 10-kilometer radius of the Mount Apo watershed.
Psalmer Bernalte, head of the Public Safety Division and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, told the mayor that schools located at Sitio Sayaban in Barangay Ilomavis were at risk of landslides when heavy rains hit the village since Wednesday.
“I have video clips as proof that indeed going to school in Barangay Ilomavis would put students at high risk. So I asked the mayor to declare suspension of classes in these areas,” said Bernalte.
In the municipality of Makilala, Barangay Santa Felomina chairman Bryan Lariza led in the rescue of teachers of Bienvenido National High School who were trapped when waters along Malasila River overflowed.
The rescue reportedly took place 10 p.m. Wednesday with the teachers clinging on ropes so they could cross the river. None among the teachers was hurt during the rescue.
Lariza requested parents and guardians not to send in their children to school on Thursday while the waters of Malasila River have not yet subsided and crossing the river is still not advisable.
In Kabacan town, the Sangguniang Bayan has declared the town under a state of calamity when heavy rains hit the town since last week, reports from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The floodwaters, it said, have not settled yet and thousands of affected residents from low-lying villages still remain in their relatives’ houses elsewhere.
As of Thursday, at least seven villages were still under heavy flooding, according to Kabacan Vice Mayor Myra Dulay-Bade.
Reports have also reached Bade’s office that flash floods destroyed hectares of rice farms in the affected barangays. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)