DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – The Davao City government has declared one of the city’s popular tourist attractions off-limits due to the high risk of landslides caused by soil erosion and loose rocks in the surrounding area.
The local government issued a public advisory prohibiting people from going to the Asik-Asik Falls in Purok 9 Barangay Carmen in Baguio District.
Alfredo Baloran, the head of the city’s disaster risk reduction and management office, said Asik-Asik Falls has been classified as highly susceptible to landslides based on assessments conducted by the local government and environment department.
The risk was also pointed out in the Detailed Flood and Landslide Susceptibility Map of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB).
“With this, tourists visiting the area are at risk of natural hazards such as rock falls, landslides, and flooding, especially during heavy rainfall,” Baloran told the local government-run Davao City Disaster Radio.
Local officials said the prevailing rainy weather, which is expected to continue until March, would cause further erosion in ravines and foothills in the area, making landslides even more probable.
They cited an incident in 2022 when nine people were trapped in the vicinity of Asik-Asik Falls after the water level at the Talomo River suddenly surged to a highly dangerous level.
“Those who like to take photos and swim, please avoid Asik-Asik Falls for now because the place is dangerous,” Baloran said.
Many parts of Mindanao saw weeks of inclement weather since late December 2022. A shear line and later, a lingering low-pressure area caused widespread flooding and landslides that damaged and destroyed vital infrastructure.
One was a section of the Talaingod-Valencia Bukidnon road which was destroyed after a landslide on January 14. The road serves as a vital link between the Davao Region and Northern Mindanao.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the Davao Region said only one lane of the road section was passable to light vehicles.
“Public utility vans, cargo trucks, buses, and multi-axle trucks are advised to take the Davao-Bukidnon Road while clearing operations are ongoing. Motorists are advised to take necessary precautions while traveling due to the prevailing weather conditions. We apologize for the inconvenience,” read part of a DPWH-Davao public notice. – Rappler.com