Days after pooling their support for “Ondoy” victims, Baguio and Benguet locals receives a bashing from Typhoon “Pepeng”. Baguio Midland Courier reports that government institutions, schools, local media groups and other cause oriented groups have in their own way collected support in cash and in kind for the “Ondoy” victims. Stunned as they have been after watching footages of the devastation typhoon “Ondoy” was causing in part of the National Capital Region, locals are now in awe of what the succeeding typhoon “Pepeng” had done to their own backyard. As the skies cleared, the damage is just unreal. Some octogenarians that dotted our resort city and the nearby towns exclaimed never have they been a witnessed to such a catastrophic typhoon.
In Baguio City, the City Camp lagoon was again inundated that boats for hire in the Burnham lake were “dispatched” to help in the rescue and relief operations. Patchy but numerous landslides are evident. A landslide had forcefully caused the closure of the Bokawkan Road which is one of the main road arteries of the city. Landslides had also buried the buried as the loosened soil came down on some graves in the Baguio City cemetery in some parts overlooking San Luis Village.
In La Trinidad, Benguet, the devastation was even worst basing on the death toll which even today continues to rise and as rescuers continue to wade through the now hardening mud that buried a community on a hillside called “Little Kibungan”. A loud sound of sort preceded most of the large mudslides like the one in “Little Kibungan”. And then darkness.
Just near the town’s boundary with the City of Pines, a bridge had came down along with almost thirty vehicles. An assortment of cars now lay washing themselves in the waters of Balili river.
Magnifying the injury is the landslides and mudslides that affected the main roads leading to and from the city. Marcos Highway suffer “road cuts” causing motorists to ply mountain sides on foot. Fellow jail officers who are also residing in the city and La Trinidad have to walk and hop in available vehicles along its length just to reach their unit assignments to helped or “relieved” on- duty officers.
Naguilian Road leading to La Union and northern provinces was rendered impassable for almost five days with landslides. I counted about 65 obstructions consisting mostly of soil erosions, rocks and boulders, fallen trees and a house scattered along its length from Station 9 of Baguio City Police Office to Bauang- Naguilian Road intersection. Motorists endured four trekking hours to exit or enter the city through it. A concrete home with vehicles under it was relocated by a landslide right into the center of the two lane highway.
Kennon Road was also impassable for as many days as did the two thoroughfares owing to large stones wash from the its mountain side to center lane near the Tinoyan’s Restaurant. Even on Monday, almost a day after authorities declared it open for light vehicles not more than 10 tons, it was momentarily impassable as government workers blasted large boulders blocking it completely. The announcement and the momentary delay had caused traffic along the length of the historic road up to Camp 6 down to part of Rosario, La Union. Commuters going up of the city who were scheduled to utilized the road in the afternoon of Monday (12 October 2009) have to endure up to the late afternoon waiting for all vehicles lined up to go down to finally pass before they were able to clamber up to Baguio City. Noticeably, trucks bringing up basic needs like live chicken, pigs, and several small oil tankers are in the long queue up.
All these three have been declared opened as of this date. For sure, it had erased what eeriness that may have lingered during their closures especially as the public “market” and some grocery stores have started looking at empty piles.
Only Halsema Road remains closed as of this time.
Locals pool relief aid for Ondoy flood victims