Apayao Board Member, Cop die in landslide

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KABUGAO, Apayao  – A provincial boardmember and a personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) died after they were hit by a landslide triggered by the continuous rains at barangay Dibagat, here, Thursday evening.

Police authorities identified the victims as Board Member Tolentino Mangalao and Cpl. Rommel Gumidam, both residents of Dibagat, Kabugao, Apayao.

Initial police investigation showed that because of the series of landslides leading to their respective homes as a result of the continuous rains that prevailed in the province over the past several days, the victims opted to take a temporary shelter inside a house in the place of incident.

After several hours, a landslide suddenly transpired that pinned the house where the victims sought refuge causing their untimely demise.

Rescuers immediately responded to the place of the landslide and rescued the victims who were trapped inside the house but the duo were declared dead on arrival by attending physicians at the Kabugao District hospital due to serious head and body injuries.

In a related development, the Calanasan municipal council approved a resolution declaring the town in a state of calamity following the prevalence of flashfloods, landslides and swelling of various bodies of water to allow the utilization of funds intended for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Vice Mayor Shamir Bulut and the members of the council collectively passed Resolution Number 97 series of 2019 declaring the whole municipality under a state of calamity as residents of the town’s 20 barangays struggle with the effects of soil erosions, floods caused by the swelling of the Apayao River due to non-stop heavy downpour of rains. The local legislative body decided to declare as such based on the assessment of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) on the damages on infrastructures and agriculture in the municipality.

The resolution stated that the occurrence of landslides, flash floods, and rising of the river’s level brought by the heavy rains in the province recently has severely devastated this municipality which estimated cost of damages on infrastructures and agriculture, as this date as per assessment of the LDRRMC,” stated in the resolution. The council noted that one among the most pressing problem is the isolation of the whole municipality due to the closure of all road access for a week that disrupted transportation, disruption of daily economic activities and the threats of more landslides because of the rain water-soaked soils.

The councilors agreed to pass such resolution to authorize the utilization of the stand by fund under the Quick Response Fund (QRF) of the LDRRMC Fund. This is to maximize the said fund to start the restoration and rehabilitation of   damaged infrastructures in the municipality and to provide aid to the constituents especially the farmers whose agricultural livelihoods were destroyed.

On November 6, 2019, Apayao Governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang as chair of the Provincial DRRMC ordered the conduct of pre-emptive and forced evacuation of families and individuals who are in identified risk areas in different municipalities. Flash floods also submerged parts of Luna and Kabugao municipalities of the province. By Dexter A. See

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