Flash flood hits 3 towns, city in Bulacan

Ramon Efren Lazaro - The Philippine Star
Flash flood hits 3 towns, city in Bulacan
Men drink coffee in front of their houses in Barangay Turo, Bocaue, Bulacan yesterday in this photo posted on Facebook by Lorena Portugues. Several barangays in the town were inundated with floodwater when the Bocaue river overflowed.

MALOLOS, Philippines — Several barangays in San Jose del Monte, Sta. Maria, Bocaue and Marilao were submerged in floodwaters several feet deep yesterday.

Rivers in the affected areas overflowed at around 4 a.m. due to rainwater that flowed from deforested areas of the Sierra Madre mountain range in San Jose del Monte, according to reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

The PDRRMO said three villages in Sta. Maria were affected by flooding, six in Bocaue, three in Marilao and five in San Jose del Monte.

Superintendent Fitz Macariola, San Jose del Monte police chief, said they received reports that at least two houses were washed out while several others were destroyed. Around 50 families evacuated their homes in Barangays Minuyan, Sapang Palay and Dulong Bayan Proper.

Two evacuation centers were put up in Sta. Maria, where at least 117 families took refuge.

Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna suspended classes in all levels due to flooding.

Water receded at around noon.

Martin Francisco, Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. chairman, blamed the flooding to the conversion of parts of the Sierra Madre mountain range into residential areas. 

Francisco cited areas on Mt. Balagbag, a portion of which lies on Ipo watershed, which had been titled for residential purposes. 

Francisco also blamed illegal logging and charcoal-making  in the area.

The PDRRMO denied that water was released from either Angat or Ipo dams, noting that the water levels yesterday were below normal high.

Two spillgates of the Bustos dam were opened yesterday, but the PDRRMO said it had no effect on San Jose del Monte, Sta. Maria, Bocaue and Marilao.

Water released from Bustos dam finds its way to the Angat river system and flow toward Bustos, San Rafael, Baliwag, Plaridel, Calumpit, Hagonoy before it spills out to Manila Bay.

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