Baha Biyernes: Why the Friday floodings in Bacolod City?

Part 1 of a Special Report series

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BACOLOD CITY – The streets were flooded last Friday, 6 March as torrential rains pounded the city for almost an entire day.

People stranded at San Sebastian street due to non-stop rains and lack of transportation. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
People stranded at San Sebastian street due to non-stop rains and lack of transportation. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

The rain gauges here measured rainfall at 102mm.

“It was about three days worth of rain that fell in only several hours on that day,” local disaster czar Jose Maria Vargas told DNX.

That was how the disdrometers, scientific equipment used to measure rainfall, recorded it.

On the ground here, the science was felt in terms of rising floodwaters in national highways, city streets and coastal villages as rivers rose and some culverts turned into spouting fountains.

As early as 3pm, outside universities at the Shopping area, people jammed roadsides as public jeepneys waded through flooded roads and bridges, like in La Salle Avenue where the floodwaters covered the bridge leading to several schools and residential subdivisions.

One teacher soaked by the rain had to return to her office.

It was hard to hail or book a taxi, she said.

Dead creek at Barangay Mansilingan overflowed with waist-high floods to the residents nearby last Friday. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles
Dead creek at Barangay Mansilingan overflowed with waist-high floods to the residents nearby last Friday. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles

As early evening fell, lines were long by the roadsides as rain continued to fall and people waited for rides home.

In Singcang Airport, a coastal village, Este, a househelp, had to put some of the dogs on the second floor of the house she was working in as rainwater started to flow inside.

At Punta Magsungay and several other sub-villages closer to the sea, residents waded in chest-high flood unmindful of the risks posed by leptospirosis and other sickness caused by organisms swimming in the murky waters.

For several hours, the COVID-19 scare seemed to have been forgotten as people struggled to save life, limb and their few belongings.

Not all were lucky.

In Taculing and Mandalagan villages, a baby and a woman died.

Jake Lorence Tortogo was sleeping in a swinging makeshift hammock when the house he was staying in fell into the river when the ground underneath it collapsed.

His parents left him to an aunt.

He was found floating dead the next day in Village 35, several kilometers away from where he last slept.

A woman, Josephine, from Mandalagan also died.

Found dead in Vista Alegre.

Police said she was 56.

As quickly as the floodwaters rose, so did the analyses, the bashing and the criticisms.

On social media.

Like a repeat of the 2019 campaign period, Mayor Evelio and Cong. Greg Gasataya were flooded by criticisms as netizens questioned the flood control projects of Gasataya and blamed Leonardia for failing to act on the problem.

In this series, DNX looks at the flooding problem past memes and posts on Facebook.

First, we talked to the DPWH to get a sense of the problem. Click on the video below to watch our interview with Engineer Leah Jamero, assistant district engineer of the DPWH Lone Highways Engineering District in this one-on-one interview with DNX Executive Editor Julius D. Mariveles.

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