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BUKIDNON, Philippines – Classes and work were suspended in many parts of Bukidnon as several local governments raised alert levels due to the incessant rain and threats of flooding since Tuesday afternoon, April 5, due to a low-pressure area.
In Valencia City, Bukidnon’s trade hub, the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office sounded alarm bells because the water level at the Lumbayao Dam continued to rise to critical levels.
The Valencia City government on Wednesday, April 6, gave the green light for preemptive evacuations in flood- and landslide-prone areas, especially families living beside mountain slopes.
Valencia Mayor Azucena Huervas ordered the suspension of face-to-face classes at all levels in the city because of the dangers.
In Maramag town, Mayor Jose Joel Doromal also suspended all face-to-face classes and work in all public schools, state universities and colleges, and government offices, except those involved in disaster mitigation and management.
Doromal said he issued the order “to safeguard, preserve and protect the lives, well-being, and health of the inhabitants of the municipality as well as their properties and minimize the adverse impacts of hazard and related disasters brought about by this low-pressure area.”
But he left it to the discretion of private establishments or companies to suspend work or not.
The local governments of the municipalities of Quezon, Kitaotao, and Pangantucan also suspended classes at all levels.
Meanwhile, in Davao City, barangay disaster risk reduction management councils and volunteer rescue groups were advised to closely monitor, and prepare for evacuations in, villages known as flood- and landslide-prone areas.
At least two rivers in Davao have started to swell due to heavy downpours.
Alfredo Baloran, Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office chief, said all barangay DRRMCs in the city have been on deck since Tuesday.
He said the discoloration of the rivers was a red flag because it meant heavy rain upstream.
“We cannot be complacent as waters from upstreams are gushing down into our rivers here. We are urging residents in flood- and landslide-prone areas to keep monitoring and immediately heed the evacuation once it is ordered,” Baloran told the Davao City Disaster Radio on Tuesday night.
Flooding and landslides were reported in other areas in the Davao region like in Davao de Oro where Governor Tyron Uy suspended classes and work on Wednesday morning. – Rappler.com
Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.