Freeman Region

Heavy rains flood Dumaguete, parts of Negros Oriental, Siquijor

Judy Flores Partlow - The Freeman

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — Heavy rains starting early Monday triggered flooding in Dumaguete City, other parts of Negros Oriental, and Siquijor province, causing authorities to deploy rescue teams and resources as residents also kept watch over rising waters in rivers and even in low-lying areas.

As the day progressed and the situation got worse, Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo issued a directive anchored on Section 2 of Executive Order 66 suspending classes at the pre-school, elementary and high school levels across the province.

Degamo, chair of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, advised the public to continue monitoring weather advisories and for the local DRRMCs to undertake pre-emptive evacuation when necessary.

Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, for his part, declared suspension of classes in the province from pre-school to high schools effective yesterday, until further notice, due to the effects of low pressure area (LPA) and the northeast monsoon.

Adrian Sedillo, executive officer of the Negros Oriental PDRRMC, also announced that work in government offices were suspended, but it was discretionary on the part of the private sector. Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo also issued a similar order.

The Banica River and the Okoy River swelled and rose to threatening levels sending residents along the banks to scramble to safety, although others insisted on just staying put while watching the waters rise.

At the Okoy River-notorious for being a "killer" river because of its history of claiming lives during floods-breakwaters or dikes were damaged, trees toppled and scouring reported in some areas. Some residents caught in the middle of the overflowing Okoy River were rescued.

The Ticala spillway leading to Barangay Ticala in Valencia town also overflowed, cutting off access to that area and nearby barangays.

Spillways in Dumaguete also overflowed, causing the diversion of traffic as these were sealed off to the riding public to avert any untoward incident. The road leading to the slaughterhouse at lower Banilad in Dumaguete up to the national highway in Banilad was also flooded.

Sibulan town Mayor Pepe Abiera reported that some residents in Sibulan have sought temporary shelter at an evacuation center after the swelling of the Okoy River, which flowed down from the mountains through the town into the sea.

In Bacong town, the foundation of a newly-built bridge at Bambulo Resort was washed out. The contractor, PhilSouth, could not be reached for comment however. 

Coast Guard-Dumaguete head, Lieutenant Junior Grade Donna Liza Ramacho, said that, due to rough seas, voyages of smaller vessels like the fast crafts and passenger motorboats-plying the Sibulan, Negros Oriental and Liloan, Cebu route-were cancelled. But flat-bottomed barges were still allowed to travel across the Tañon Strait between the two islands, she said.

Authorities have warned people not to let their guard down but to keep monitoring weather advisories. PAG-ASA, in its advisory yesterday morning, announced that a "yellow" alert level was hoisted over Negros Oriental.

A few hours later the alert level color was changed to orange, meaning, flooding was threatening the low-lying areas, with landslides in mountains, and possible landslides in mountainous areas. —with reports from Renan Lapinig Ansing (FREEMAN)

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