By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Torrential rains since Wednesday night have forced local chief executives in two areas in North Cotabato to declare classes’ suspensions, while another town was declared under 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 suspended 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, 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 schools in Barangay Ilomavis would put students at high risk. So I asked the mayor to declare classes’ suspension in these areas,” said Bernalte.
In Makilala, North Cotabato, the chairman of Barangay Santa Felomina led in rescuing teachers of Bienvenido National High School who were trapped in the area when waters along Malasila River overflowed.
The rescue, a teacher said, took place around 10 p.m., on Wednesday. She said they had to use ropes so they could cross the river. None among the teachers was hurt during the rescue.
Barangay Santa Felomina chairman Bryan Lariza, on his own, has requested parents and guardians not to send their children to classes on Thursday while the waters of Malasila River had not yet subsided and the river crossing is still not advisable.
In Kabacan town, the Sangguniang Bayan has declared the town under state of calamity when heavy rains hit the town since last week, reports from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
The flood waters, it said, had not settled yet and thousands of affected residents from low-lying villages still remain in their relatives’ houses.
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 wide hectares of palay in the affected barangays.