Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bulakenyos cite prayers for downgrade of rainfall alert

By Dino Balabo

 MALOLOS CITY—Answered prayers!

This was how some Bulakenyos described the low rainfall yesterday morning, a day after priests of the Diocese of Malolos started praying while other residents invoked an “oration imperata” on Tuesday as intense rains pummelled several towns in the province.

Lower rainfall also gave a sigh of relief to thousands of Bulakenyos who expected deeper floods yesterday as the Bustos Dam discharged 500 cubic meters per second of water into the Angat River starting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Elmer Santos, a municipal councilor from Hagonoy, was overjoyed with the turn of events.

“God heard our prayers,” he said a day after sending out text messages containing oratio imperata and asked his town mates to recite it.

Records from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRMMO) showed a lull in rainfall in the towns of Bulakan, Hagonoy, Sta, Maria, Paombong, Pandi, San Rafael, and Norzagaray. 

The most notable changes were observed in Paombong which recorded 127 mm six hour rainfall on Tuesday morning, but yesterday, it dropped to 48.77 mm.

In Bulakan, Tuesday’s rainfall was 80.01 mm but dropped to 11.86 mm yesterday while in Meycauayan City, it dropped to 38.10 mm yesterday from  63.75 mm on Tuesday.

Santos said that both towns were spared from the deep flooding  they expected to set in by early morning yesterday as Bustos Dam operators reduced the discharge to 190 cms by 11:30 p.m. of Tuesday.

The same was echoed by Mayor Raulito Manlapaz who explained in an exclusive interview yesterday that flooding in Hagonoy town was only caused by sea level rise or high tide and partly aggravated by the tail end of the water discharged from Bustos Dam.

Manlapaz also said that since Monday, at least 22 of the 26 villages of Hagonoy town went underwater due to heavy rains and high tide.

They are now repacking relief goods to be distributed before the end of the week even if there is no declaration of state of calamity in the town.

For his part, Vice Mayor Pedro Santos said that they will prioritize over 100 families evacuated in different evacuation centers in the town and the coastal villages of Pugad and Tibaguin as fisherfolk in those villages were not able to go out to the seas for over a week now due to stormy weather since typhoon Labuyo passed Luzon last week.

As this developed,  the PDRRMO reported a total of 2,436 families composed of 9,283 individuals were evacuated from 14 towns of the province, namely, Balagtas, Baliwag, Bocaue, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Marilao,Obando, Pulilan, Paombong, Plaridel, Sta. Maria, and the cities of San Jose Del Monte,  Meycauayan , and Malolos.

The PDRRMO also said that heavy rains rendered a number of roads in the province non-passable to light vehicles as of yesterday Thursday morning.