Bad weather in Bukidnon forced Senator Joel Villanueva to cut short his planned sorties in several Mindanao provinces last week, and make an emergency landing, it was learned.
Sources said that Villanueva and his team made an emergency landing in an undisclosed place in Cagayan de Oro City, instead of Butuan City on Thursday afternoon as thick rainclouds in Bukidnon hampered visibility.
Villanueva, popularly known by his moniker TESDAMAN, came from a private meeting with Bukidnon Gov. Jose Zubiri in Maramag, after a two-city swing in the Visayas earlier in the day. After taking off from Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Villanueva’s team flew to Bukidnon for a scheduled meeting with the 81-year-old local chief executive.
After a brief chat with the reelectionist senator, Zubiri gave his endorsement to Villanueva, who earlier flew from Cebu City for brief engagements. It was said that Governor Zubiri asked Villanueva to fly immediately upon seeing thick clouds slowly converging in Maramag.
Locals observed that while rainclouds often bring light to moderate downpour in the afternoons, Thursday’s unusual heavy rains affected visibility in the mountainous terrain of Bukidnon, making flights risky.
Villanueva was supposed to fly to Butuan City after his Bukidnon whistlestop for several engagements and meetings, including a gathering of Christian pastors and leaders there. He was also set to meet gubernatorial candidate and Agusan del Norte Rep. Angel Amante-Matba.
The following day, Villanueva was scheduled to meet officials of Agusan del Sur led by Rep. Eddiebong Plaza and Gov. Santiago Cane in Prosperidad, Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong in Marawi City, Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Sayadi, and General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
Villanueva took off Maramag past 2:00PM, but after 20 minutes into the flight, rainclouds impaired the pilot’s visibility prompting the chopper to divert to an area in Cagayan de Oro and wait for better weather.