DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – Authorities effected forced evacuations of hundreds of families from a mining village in Davao de Oro as heavy rains continued to pound the province and elsewhere in Mindanao on Saturday, January 14.
The forced evacuations came after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the Davao Region warned about the great risk of disaster in Monkayo, a town that saw a gold rush in the 1980s.
Monkayo’s political territory covers a part of a gold- and copper-rich mountain range, the reason for the gold rush about four decades ago in the province that used to be named Compostela Valley.
The MGB warned that the town was in danger of seeing massive landslides after weeks of inclement weather across Mindanao – first, due to a shear line, and now, due to a low pressure area lingering for days off Caraga Region.
Local officials and soldiers of the Army’s 25th Infantry Battalion quickly worked to force families living near Mount Diwata to evacuate on orders from Monkayo Mayor Manuel Zamora.
Marvin Samson, an officer at the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Davao Region, said more than 100 people in one of the many districts in Barangay Mount Diwata alone were evacuated to safer ground as of 2 pm on Saturday.
More forced evacuations were ongoing as of this posting, with the Monkayo municipal engineering office deploying workers and heavy equipment to landslide-prone areas.
Officials said Mainit, another hinterland village in nearby Maco town, Davao de Oro, saw a landslide at around 1 pm Saturday.
Samson said the Mainit landslide displaced at least 24 families and damaged and destroyed some 13 houses.
The OCD reported that rain-induced landslide also destroyed a section of the Talaingod-Bukidnon road in neighboring Kalagangan in San Fernando, Bukidnon.
The vital road connects Davao del Norte in the Davao Region to the province of Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, Davao de Oro Governor Dorothy Gonzaga, Davao de Oro 2nd District Representative Ruwel Gonzaga, and Maco Mayor Arthur Carlos Volatire Rimando helped government workers in distributing relief aid to evacuees. – Rappler.com