By Emil G. Gamos
MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, (PNA) -– Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado Saturday requested operators of Bustos dam to temporary close its collapsed Gate 4.
This, after receiving latest updates from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) that floodwaters from the neighboring provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija began cascading towards the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy.
These are the perennial catch basin of receding floodwaters from the said provinces and other higher areas of Bulacan.
Bustos dam authorities have fully opened (collapsed) rubber Gate 4 of the dam after its spilling level of 17.70 meters was breached by 8 meters (17.78 m) early Saturday morning when Typoon Santin ripped through the Philippine Area of Responsibilty.
Dam operators have discharged a 492.345 cubic meters per second as of 7:00am Saturday morning.
The water elevation (as of 7:00am Saturday) at Bustos dam has dipped down from 17.78 meters to 17.40 meters.Alvarado said that Bustos dam has enough water capacity and by temporary stopping the release of water from its reservoir, it will give some allowance to allow the flood-prone towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy to brace for the onslaught of backfloods from Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.
“Kailangan muna nilang ihinto ang pagpapawala nang tubig, para makaya ng ilog ang papauhong tubig galling sa umaapaw na Candaba swamp at ilang parte ng Nueva Ecija at Pampanga,” Alvarado said.
The governor has been constantly coordinating with officials and engineers of the three big dams in Bulacan –Bustos, Ipo and Angat – regarding the preemptive rewlease of waters from their reservoirs in order to lessen the impacts of heavy floodings to low lying areas in the province’s first and second districts particularly the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy, before Typhoon Santi was detected by weathermen.
Meanwhile, two females and a 78-year-old man were confirmed dead in San Miguel town while two others were reported still missing in this town that was severely affected by 4 to 5 feet flood waters at the break of dawn Saturday.
The body of the first fatality was recovered in Barangay Poblacion. Barangay rescue teams identified the victim as a certain “Kring-kring” believed to have been swept by floodwaters from a nearby village.
The second victim, identified as Teresita Manabat of Barangay Balaong died of drowning after the roof of their house reportedly crashed on their abode at the height of strong winds spawned by Typhoon Santi.
The septuagenarian victim was identified as Arturo Quizon of Bgy. San Jose died after suffering from heart attack which was said to be triggered when the roof of their house was ripped of by powerful winds early Saturday morning
The PPDRMO also received reports from the San Miguel Police that two teenagers from Barangay Kamias were reported by their families as missing as of presstime.