Landslides cut off key road linking Ilocos, Cagayan Valley
LAOAG CITY—Massive landslides occurred along a portion of a national highway in Pagudpud town in Ilocos Norte on Sunday following days of heavy downpour, cutting off a major road link between the the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions that left at least a hundred vehicles and motorists stranded on both sides of the highway.
In an advisory, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the clearing operation was started following the landslides at the section of the Manila North Road that traverses through Barangay Pancian in Pagudpud but the road was not yet passable to vehicles as of Monday.
According to the Ilocos Norte provincial government, the national highway has been opened to motorcycles and pedestrians only.
Stuck in the highway
Motorist Hazel Malonzo and her husband were passing through the highway on Sunday when an avalanche of sand and rocks surged down from the roadside mountain slopes.
Malonzo managed to film the landslide from her car that stopped along with several other vehicles just as the hillside soil of the road section a short distance away from them was starting to erode.
Interviewed on Monday, she said they were returning home to San Fernando City in Pampanga province after a short vacation in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan province, when the landslide occured.
She said they were stuck at the portion of the highway for hours after authorities decided to close down the road for safety reasons and waited in vain to be allowed to cross the road.
With no practical detour available, Malonzo said they decided to return to Sanchez Mira where they would wait until they could head back to Pampanga.
The provincial government said that at least 20 buses, 20 cargo trucks, 25 sport utility vehicles, 25 vans and 10 motorcycles got stranded on both sides of the road on Sunday.
In a separate interview, Pancian Barangay Capt. Jessie Lagundino said that while no one was hurt in the incident, the supply of electricity was cut off in his village after the landslides toppled power lines at 9 a.m. on Sunday.
The provincial government and the DPWH advised motorists to “adhere to safety measures” when traveling in the area, as it had been known to be prone to landslides after days of rains.
In October and November last year, several incidents of landslides also struck a section of the Manila North Road, blocking a large part of the highway after torrential rains. These landslides forced motorists heading in and out of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan provinces to bypass Pancian, a coastal village, by taking a sea passage through hired fishing boats.
As of 8 a.m. on Monday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said the northeast monsoon and easterlies affected Ilocos Norte and a large part of northern Luzon, dumping rains over these areas since last week. INQ