Rains cause landslides, mine tunnel collapse up north
TUBA, Benguet, Philippines—A heavy downpour ushering the start of the rainy season caused a pocket mine tunnel in Barangay Camp 4 here to collapse on Friday, killing a small-scale miner and injuring two of his companions, reports from the Office of Civil Defense in the Cordillera showed.
The OCD Cordillera said Joey Marcos, 23, a resident of Tadian, Mountain Province, was pinned when his mine tunnel collapsed on Friday noon. But rescue workers and officials of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau were told about the accident in Sitio Liwliw in Camp 4 here only at 5 p.m., said Ronald Villa, OCD Cordillera operations chief.
Marcos’ body was recovered at 7 a.m. Saturday. Fellow miners Soriano Dizon and Pelino Pangpang-ek survived with only minor injuries.
In Batanes, reports from the Philippine Coast Guard said strong winds brought about by Typhoon Chedeng (Songda) snapped the lines holding a cargo vessel in the port of Basco on Friday night, causing the vessel to run aground.
Captain George Ursabia, PCG district commander for north Luzon, said the M/V JLL Victorita was moored to the pier at 10 p.m. but the vessel’s lines snapped due to strong winds. It drifted toward the shoreline and ran aground some 457 meters off the Basco port.
He said the 18 crew members were unhurt when they were rescued at 3:20 a.m. Saturday.
Ursabia said a hole in the ship’s engine room was discovered after an inspection but its fuel tanks still contained 6,000 liters of diesel.
The vessel was not carrying cargo when the accident happened because it had unloaded gravel and sand at the pier on Thursday, he said.
Rains also triggered landslides in parts of the Cordillera, which inflicted damage estimated at P500,000 on road, reports from the Department of Public Works and Highways said.
A slide covered a section of Kennon Road in Camp 6, but road crews reopened this stretch at 6:45 a.m. Saturday. Other major roads to and from Baguio City remain open.
A section of Halsema Highway in Mountain Province, which vegetable farmers use to ship produce to Metro Manila, was hit by a landslide on Friday but engineers managed to keep a lane open.
The Itogon-Dalupirip Road was blocked by a landslide on Wednesday. It remains closed because the area continues to erode, an OCD report said.
The Mountain Province-Cagayan Road in Tabuk City, Kalinga, has been closed to traffic since Wednesday due to landlsides.
In Ifugao, the Banaue-Hungduan-Benguet Road was closed to give way to clearing operations.
Nonetheless, the rains have been described as a blessing by farmers in Isabela.
“The rainwater would be beneficial for irrigation and the generation of electricity,” said Florentino Baniqued, district manager of the National Irrigation Administration’s Magat River Integrated Irrigation System.
Rains that began to pour on May 27 have soaked 80,000 hectares of rice and corn farms in Isabela, as well as farms in neighboring Cagayan, Quirino and Kalinga, said Danilo Tumamao, Isabela agriculturist.
In Ramon town, the rains helped raise the water level at Magat Dam to 187 meters above sea level, still below the spilling level of 193 meters above sea level.
Senior Superintendent Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, said the province, despite being on the path of the typhoon, did not record a casualty.
Reports from Elmer Kristian Dauigoy, Cristina Arzadon and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon