Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flash floods hit 13 Bulacan villages on a sunny weekend

PDRRMO-Bulacan filephoto take at San Ildefonso, Bulacan last October. 

MALOLOS CITY—At least 13 villages in San Miguel, Bulacan were hit by flash floods twice on Sunday, and local officials blamed it on alleged mining operations in Sierra Madre mountains in the eastern part of the province.

The flash floods came on a sunny weekend, a day after Supertyphoon Yolanda moved out of the Philippine area of responsibility. Mayor Roderick Tiongson of San Miguel said they were surprised by the flash floods because it was sunny in Bulacan since Saturday morning.

“We believe it is due to on-going mining operations in Sierra Madre,” he said referring to a company involved in extraction of iron ore in Barangay Camachin in the mountain town of Donya Remedios Trinidad (DRT).

Tiongson also lamented the sorry state of Sierra Madre on the east side of his town noting that for years it has been subjected to marble quarrying, and iron ore mining.

“The damage has been done and our kababayan in San Miguel are suffering, especially the farmers,” he said referring to flash floods from Sunday morning to evening. He said that 13 of the 49 villages of San Miguel were inundated by flash floods which reached chest high deeep.

The flooded villages included Baritan, Cambio, Maligaya, Barias, Salacot, Balite, Bantog, Sta. Lucia, King Kabayo, Penambaran, Ilog Bulo, Pulong Duhat and Bagong Silang. Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) of Bulacan allayed fears over possible flood with the water discharges from Angat, Ipo and Bustos Dams.

Raul Agustin, head of special operations of PDRRMO, said that its effect would be minimal noting that there is no back flood coming from Pampanga, while sea water rise is low. He also said that since Saturday, they recorded little or no rainfall in most parts of the province.

As of Monday morning, Angat Dam increased its water discharge to 265 cubic meters per second through its spillway, while Bustos Dam is discharging a total of 285 cms. Agustin said there is nothing to worry over the water spilled from the dams.

“If they are spilling 600 cms and above, we should start to worry,” Agustin said. On Sunday, Angat Dam started spilling 130 cms as water elevation climbed to 213.65 masl. Yesterday morning, water elevation dropped to
213.51 masl.

Engineer Rodolfo German said they will continue to spill water until the water elevation dropped to 210 masl which he described as “comfortable level.” Dino Balabo