Floodwaters neck-high, reaching second floor of homes –Reports
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Heavy rains last night, a result of a low pressure area, saw several areas across Bacolod City underwater, leaving students and commuters stranded, along with other city residents forced to leave their homes.
Barangays 35 and 40 were said to be hit particularly hard, as local residents evacuated their residences; while those living near the San Antonio Abad Parish Church in Barangay Taculing also reportedly fled their homes due to rising waters.
Later in the evening, residents of Purok Alunan Baybay, in Barangay 35, were said to be pleading for help as floodwaters had reportedly reached the second floor of their homes.
In Barangay Pahanocoy, Police Station 8 (PS8) commander, Police Senior Inspector Wilfredo Benoman, Jr., said flood waters measured two meters deep.
In addition, Bacolod City Councilor Caesar Distrito reported waters were said to be neck-deep at Purok Mars, Sampaguita I, and Villa Mercedes, all in Barangay Singcang-Airport.
It was also reported, in Purok Mars, a child reportedly drowned after they were unable to escape their flooded home.
Barangay Banago officials also advised residents of Purok Riverside to evacuate to higher ground.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia took to the radio last night, noting he had dispatched Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) acting director, Police Senior Superintendent Jack Wanky, to provide support in the rescue effort, as locals were stranded across the city.
Gaisano City mall, which has been evacuated earlier in the evening, depended on IPM-Construction and Development Corporation (IPM-CDC) sanitation trucks to evacuate those that were stranded as waters were about chest-deep.
IPM-CDC trucks were also sent to other locations where locals were stranded and transported them to areas where public utility vehicles (PUVs) were still travelling. Based on a report by Aksyon Radyo Bacolod last night, worsening conditions made it difficult for PUVs to operate in some areas of the city.
Traffic was also congested throughout the city as many roadways were impassable due to flood waters.
Meanwhile, a crisis center was set up at the Bacolod City Government Center, and Domingo Lacson National High School was being prepared to serve as an evacuation shelter.
Many city residents were also left without electricity, however, as of press time, the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Ceneco) could not be reached for comment.
According to a weather bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), as of 3:00 p.m. yesterday, a low pressure area (LPA), which subsequently strengthened into a southwest monsoon, was spotted 195 kilometers east of Legazpi City, Albay.
A heavy rainfall alert was later issued over Guimaras, Antique, Aklan, and Negros Occidental at 5:50 p.m. PAGASA also issued warnings to the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) to be aware of possible flash floods and landslides.
As of press time, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) in Negros Occidental has yet to confirm the full extent of flooding throughout the province, however, both Bago City and Pontevedra reported experiencing heavy flooding.
A landslide was also reported in Sipalay City./DGB, WDJ