BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan lashed out at a number of individuals and media outfits who projected a negative perception of Baguio City during the onslaught of Supertyphoon Ompong, saying that such negative projections caused panic among people based in other parts of the global village who are concerned about anything happening in the city.
The city chief executive said the posted photos of flooding in the city does not reflect the overall situation in other parts of the Summer Capital as flooding only happened along some portions of Harrison Road and in the Burnham Lake area, the latter having overflowed its banks due to the accumulation of water from the heavy rainfall that prevailed over the city and the whole region when the weather disturbance passed over the city.
“Our soil was still saturated because of the continuous monsoon rains that prevailed over the city last month aggravated by the heavy rains that prevailed over the city at the height of the tropical cyclone that caused the numerous landslide resulting to the untimely death of ten persons,” Domogan stressed.
Last month, the local office of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded over 1.600 milliliters of rainfall, nearly double that of the projected average of 905 milliliters of rainfall for the month.
From September 10-16, 2018, the recorded rainfall was 920 milliliters which was way above the projected 576 milliliters of rainfall. On September 15, 2018 alone when Supertyphoon Ompong hovered over most parts of Northern Luzon, including Baguio City, the recorded rainfall was 760 milliliters which was too much for the holding capacity of the city’s soil and rock formations.
Domogan underscored that the amount of rainfall that fell on the city at the height of the weather disturbance was too much and the areas where the landslides occurred were not actually landslide-prone areas.
He explained that the local government implemented pre-emptive evacuation in identified critical areas of the city but the areas where the landslide transpired were not previously identified as landslide-prone.
On the occurrence of floodings along portions of Harrison road and the overflowing of the Burnham lake, he emphasized that the floodwaters immediately subsided even if the city’s drainage system can no longer handle the huge volume of water from the heavy rainfall that day, thus, it is unfair for certain individuals and media outfits to project a negative image of the city which does not reflect the overall situation in the different parts of the city where the situation was actually normal as expected with that kind of weather disturbance.
Based on records from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC), 8 of the 10 fatalities were victims of landslides in the different parts of the city while one of them was hit by a falling tree and the other was carried away by the strong water current in a creek near their place.
Domogan asserted that right after the typhoon left the city, life in the city was back to normal despite the damages in some parts of the city. By Dexter A. See