Temporary access road in Antique impassable due to ‘Betty’

Residents of Laua-an and Bugasong in Antique cross the Paliwan River onboard boats after the temporary access road in the area was washed away by a flash flood. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Velmonte, Province of Antique)

By John Noel E. Herrera

A temporary access road in Antique that connects the towns of Laua-an and Bugasong was washed away Wednesday, May 31, 2023, due to flash floods caused by the southwest monsoon (Habagat) that was enhanced by Super Typhoon (ST) Betty.

Antique Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) head Broderick Train said residents and commuters from the said towns could not pass through the Paliwan River as the temporary road had been washed out by flash floods brought by heavy rain since evening of May 30.

Train added that the Antique Provincial Government had already extended help to the Local Government Units (LGUs) of Laua-an and Bugasong to assist the commuters passing the river using small fishing boats.

However, the boats could only operate until 5 p.m. as it would already be risky to cross the river at night, noting the volume and strong current of the water.

The Antique DRRMO and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also deployed some personnel to the area to monitor the situation and help with the operations to ensure the safety of the public.

The temporary access road was constructed in the area after a portion of Paliwan Bridge collapsed during the onslaught of Tropical Storm Paeng in October 2022.

Data from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) previously indicated that around 1.8 billion is needed for the rehabilitation and restoration of typhoon-stricken infrastructures in Western Visayas, including the P355 million budget to rehabilitate the Paliwan Bridge in Antique province.

Late last year, Antiqueña Senator Loren B. Legarda also said that she would facilitate the P355-million funding for the construction of the new Paliwan Bridge.

Meanwhile, Antique was also placed under red alert status on Wednesday due to the “imminent threat of Super Typhoon Betty and the enhanced Southwest Monsoon that is currently affecting the province.”

The PRDRRMO added that all municipal and barangay Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) are directed to be activated immediately on the same status “to establish close monitoring, intensified coordination and operational readiness to confront the adverse effects of the hazard in the province.”

On the other hand, an update from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), through the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-6 as of 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 31, 2023, stated that ST Betty is forecast to track westward in the next 12 hours before turning northwestward.

“Betty is forecast to remain as a super typhoon over the weekend. Although it will likely maintain its strength for the next 36-48 hours, short-term intensification is not ruled out, especially in the next 12 to 24 hours,” it added.

The OCD-6 also noted that no flooding or landslide incidents were recorded in the region based on the monitoring of the provincial and HUC DRRMOs, but advised the public to remain vigilant and prepared as heavy rains are still expected.