CABARROGUIS: The provinces of Quirino and Cavite and several towns in two other provinces were placed under a state of calamity in the aftermath of typhoon Labuyo (international codename: Utor), which left at least four people dead, displaced thousands and destroyed crops and infrastructure.
The damage caused by Labuyo to the agriculture sector reached P438.27 million, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported on Tuesday.
In its initial damage report, the DA said that the typhoon devastated farms in Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions 2 and 3 affecting rice, corn, banana and vegetable crops.
Corn and rice fields sustained the biggest damage at P320.91 million and P93.93 million, respectively.
The DA said 26,800 metric tons (MT) of corn were lost while 4,617 MT of rice were damaged.
Region 2 suffered the biggest loss at P52.78 million, followed by Region 3 at P39.43 million and CAR at P1.7 million.
The DA said it has already put in place various mechanisms to help affected farmers.
The NDRRMC said Labuyo displaced at least 7,100 families or 31,256 people in 154 villages in 45 towns and three cities in 12 provinces in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, and Cordillera.
It said that at least 229 houses were destroyed and 1,384 were damaged and some 69 evacuation centers were set up.
The NDRRMC also said that 1,158 PEOPLE were still stranded as 23 roads and 13 bridges were damaged, while power outages were reported in 13 areas.
Damage to property as of early Tuesday was estimated at more than P57.4 million in Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon, including P14.3 million in agriculture in Cagayan Valley.
In Quirino province alone, some 1,883 families were affected by the storm, prompting the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to pass a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office (PDRRO) reported that P200-million worth of crops was damaged.
“Based on our latest monitoring, the floods caused by heavy rainfall brought by typhoon Labuyo destroyed standing crops of rice, corn, banana, citrus and other crops,” said Agathon Pagbilao, provincial disaster action officer.
“We are still monitoring the damages and the figure is expected to increase,” Pagbilao said.
In Maddela town, the typhoon spawned the swelling of the Cagayan River which affected barangays Santo Niño, Manglad, San Pedro and Villa Ylanan that remained isolated as of Tuesday.
Pagbilao said that by declaring the province under a state of calamity, the provincial government will be able to maximize the use of calamity funds for relief and rehabilitation works.
In Aurora, three isolated towns were placed under a state of calamity by the provincial board following a special session attended by Governor Gerardo Noveras. The badly-hit towns are Dinalungan, Casiguran and Dilasag.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) head Eduardo del Rosario and his regional counterpart, Josefina Timoteo, were also present during the special session.
With the declaration, Aurora will utilize the full five percent of the province’s budget allocation for disaster operations.
Based on the initial reports to the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the damage on agriculture and infrastructure was pegged at P157 million.
Engineer Elson Egargue, head of the Aurora Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said that they could not get updates from the three towns because communication lines were down.
The governor, together with military and disaster officials, will conduct aerial inspection to assess the situation and determine the extent of damage.
Meanwhile, in Zambales, the town of Masinloc was also placed under a state of calamity by Mayor Desiree Edora, who made the declaration as almost the entire town was submerged under floodwater.
In a report reaching the RDRRMC, seven barangays in Masinloc town were inundated by two to five feet high floods on Monday afternoon.
These are North Poblacion, South Poblacion, Inhobol, Santo Rosario, Tapuac, Santa Rita, and Collat.
RDRRMC report also showed that some 4,200 families or 25,229 individuals were displaced and are now in evacuation centers.
A portion of the national highway in Palauig town also eroded and now only has one passable lane.
Similarly, in Cavite, the provincial government declared the whole province under a state of calamity not only because of the typhoon but also due to the oil spill disaster in the shorelines of Rosario, Tanza, Naic and Ternate.
Cavite Vice Governor Ramon “Jolo” Revilla 3rd said majority of the board members of the provincial legislative body affirmed the declaration of the state of calamity after a through evaluation of the condition on the ground.
He said the provincial board members signed two measures adopting Resolution 067 series of 2013 for the state of calamity due to Typhoon “Labuyo” which, like in other provinces, wrought extensive damage on crops and poultry.
Another measure, Resolution 068 series of 2013, also declared a twin state of calamity brought about by the diesel spill that affected residents of coastal towns.
Nueva Vizcaya, one of the worst hit provinces in Region 2, recorded three fatalities.
Police identified those who died because of the storm as Mariano dela Cruz, 42, of Barangay Domang, Dupax Del Sur town, who was swept away while trying to save his carabao, and Florante Castulo, 23, a civil engineer, and his brother Marwin, 16, of Barangay Curifang, Solano town. The brothers were electrocuted while catching eels on Monday night.
Another fatality was reported in Isabela—Dominador Zillabo of Barangay Ueg, San Mariano town. He was electrocuted while fixing their television antenna on their roof on Monday morning.
Still missing as of 12 noon Tuesday was a certain Bennie Labio, 40, of Masaya Sur in the municipality of San Agustin. She was swept away along with her hut by strong river currents.
In Cauayan City and the towns of Cabagan, Santa Maria, Santo Tomas and San Agustin, at least 14 villages which remained isolated because bridges overflowed.
“We are now readying fund and input assistance for the affected farmers, besides the ongoing food relief distribution efforts and immediate rehabilitation of flooded agriculture infrastructure,” Governor Faustino Dy said.
As rescuers used helicopters and bulldozers on Tuesday to reach isolated towns devastated by the deadly typhoon, authorities claimed 11 people were still missing.
“Trees have fallen down, roofs have been torn off houses, electric poles and electric towers have collapsed,” Balido, the NDRRMC spokesman, said.
However there were hopeful signs that the country had escaped the wrath of the typhoon with a relatively small number of casualties, after soldiers and other rescue workers reached three towns in Aurora on Tuesday that were believed to be the worst hit.
The towns, home to about 45,000 people on the east coast of the province, were in the direct path of Labuyo when it made landfall before dawn on Monday.
Soldiers who clambered over landslide-choked roads to reach the areas on foot said they saw substantial damage to homes and other buildings, but residents reported no major casualties, according to a local military spokesman.
Three military helicopters also flew to the area yesterday afternoon, bringing aid and experts to assess longer-term needs, said Aurora provincial disaster official Elson Egargue.
Joe Curry, country chief of the aid group Catholic Relief Services, said it expected the major road to the isolated towns to reopen by Wednesday.
He said other people involved in the rescue and relief operation said the death toll may be lower than feared because residents were well-prepared.
“I think people are agreeing that these places have been hit many times before, so they know how to deal with typhoons. The flood damage is less than it has been before,” Curry said.
Philippine National Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang also said that people in the worst-hit areas were typhoon veterans.
“They know how to prepare, they know how to check for early warning signs like flood levels,” she said.
Nevertheless, more than 30,000 people were in temporary shelters on Tuesday.
Of the 11 people listed as missing, one was a woman filmed by a television crew as she stood crying for help atop her house that was swept away by a swollen river.
“The community was evacuated before the onslaught of the typhoon but she refused to be evacuated,” said Norma Talosig, civil defense chief for the area.
The Red Cross listed a third death but gave no details.
On Tuesday afternoon, Labuyo was already in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) tracking toward southern China, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
The storm’s gustiness still reached 175 kilometers an hour.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday announced that members of the Home Development Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund who were affected by the storm may file their calamity loans with the Pag-IBIG’s various branch offices.
Binay, who is also the Pag-IBIG Chairman, said members residing in areas declared under a state of calamity are entitled to a calamity loan equivalent to 80 percent of their savings in the Fund.
The loan is payable over a period of 24 months at an interest rate of 5.95 percent per annum.
Members availing of the calamity loan also have the option to defer their first payment up to three months from the release of the loan and pay their first monthly amortization on the fourth month.
“By giving them the choice to defer the payment, we can help ease the burdens of our kababayans living in typhoon-prone areas and those hit by other natural calamities,” Binay said. “This is the Fund’s way of showing continuing concern for its members, and its way of helping out its members during their times of need,” he added.
With a report from Afp