• Monsoon flood death toll reaches 20

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    THE death toll, damage and total population affected by the five days of heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon enhanced by tropical storm Maring continues to climb even as the typhoon has already left the
    country’s area of responsibility.

    The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Friday that the number of casualties had climbed up to 20, with four missing and 41 injured.

    The NDRRMC executive director, Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario, said that the total number of affected population is nearing the two million mark or 1.928 million individuals in 1,549 branagay of 123 municipalities, 33 cities and 16 provinces of Regions 1, 3, 4-A, 4-B, Cordillera Autonomous Region and National Capital Region.

    He added that damage to agriculture and infrastructures in the affected regions also shot up to P97.297 million.

    Widespread flooding, Del Rosario further said, were reported in 663 areas in 92 municipalities and cities in Regions 1, 3, 4-A 4-B and NCR or Metro Manila.

    Likewise, 29 roads in various parts of the affected regions were still impassable to vehicles due to flooding, while power interruptions continued in Region 4-A and 4-B.

    Still under a state of calamity were the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal and the cities of Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Malabon,Marikina and Pasay and the town of Pateros, all in NCR; Candon City and the towns of Narvacan, Gregorio del Pilar, and Sta Maria in Ilocos Sur, Dagupan City and the towns of Santa Barbara and Calasiao in Pangasinan; Tarlac City, the towns of Obando and Hogonoy in Bulacan and Abrad de Ilog in Occ. Mindoro.

    The NDRRMC has also lowered its alert level from red to blue due to improvement in weather condition.

    Meanwhile, the NDRRMC also reported that a new low pressure area has been spotted 580 kilometers east of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

    The weather condition, will bring cloudy skies with moderate to occasionally heavy rains over Eastern Mindanao that may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

    Make up classes ordered
    Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Friday directed school officials to plan make-up classes for the days when classes were suspended as a result of massive flooding.

    Based on the school calendar issued by the Department of Education (DepEd), elementary and high schools have to fulfill a minimum of 180 days contact time with students for each school year or 45 contact days per quarter.

    Luistro said public school superintendents are mandated to consult with their school principals to decide on how best to conduct make-up classes for their students.

    “If there are class disruptions, these can be made up through additional take-home modules or actual make up classes either on Saturdays or by extending class hours on weekdays,” the DepEd chief said.

    According to Luistro, private schools are given the authority to come up with their own measures to meet the required contact time with students.

    “For private schools, we trust the decision of the school management,” he said.

    The DepED annual calendar of some 200 school days already includes 20 days buffer for class disruptions.

    Many public school buildings were either damaged or used as evacuation centers as a result of massive flooding made even worse by tropical storm Maring. Classes and office work were suspended for most of the third week of August as a result of the weather disturbance.

    Make-up classes were implemented to compensate for the lost school days due to the calamities.

    Rice released to victims
    State-run National Food Authority (NFA) has released a total of 7,878 bags of rice for distribution to victims.

    The agency said that the rice stocks, released on August 19-21, were coursed through local government units (LGUs), relief agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the NDRRMC, and private charitable institutions such as Caritas and television stations ABS-CBN and GMA-7 that also provide relief assistance to calamity victims.

    For the National Capital Region (NCR), the NFA released 3,605 bags through the following conduits: DSWD (1,554 bags); LGUs (850 bags); NDRRMC (500 bags); ABS-CBN (200 bags); GMA-7 (200 bags); CARITAS (121 bags) and the office of Mayor Gatchalian (180 bags).

    In Central Luzon, one of the worst hit by typhoon Maring, the NFA issued a total of 2,578 bags of rice for relief purposes. These were coursed through the Bataan provincial government (600 bags) and the LGUs of Orani (520 bags); Orion (200 bags); Hermosa (100 bags); Abucay (60 bags); and the Diocese of Balanga (20 bags).

    In Bulacan, the local government of Calumpit got 200 bags while Barangay Balite in Malolos got 20 bags.

    Other recipients of NFA rice for relief operations in Region 3 were: the LGUs of Zaragoza and Aliaga in Nueva Ecija with 100 and 76 bags, respectively; Guagua and the DSWD in Pampanga with 100 and 479 bags, respectively; and the Tarlac provincial office with 103 bags.
    In Region 4, Laguna’s NDRRMC received 300 bags.

    In Region 1, recipients of NFA rice were: DSWD in the Cordillera Administrative Region (90 bags) and Bangued, Abra (30 bags); the LGUs of Bantay (25 bags), Magsingal (100 bags), and Narvacan (200 bags), all in Ilocos Sur; while the LGUs of Sta. Barbara (173 bags), Mangatarem (200 bags) and the provincial government of Western Pangasinan (100 bags.)

    The LGU of San Juan and the DSWD in La Union got 100 and 377 bags, respectively.

    The NFA continues to operate its 24-hour Operations Center to quickly respond to requests for rice for relief operations especially during the occurrence of natural calamities and emergencies. At the same time, NFA personnel regularly conduct market monitoring to ensure that cheap but good quality rice is available in the markets and that supply and prices of commercial rice are also stable.

    At the height of typhoon Maring, commercial rice supply and prices were monitored at P30 – P32/kilogram for regular-milled rice and P32-P39/kg for well-milled rice in Metro Manila. In Region 3, the average price of regular-milled rice was pegged at P32/kg and for well-milled rice at P35/kg. In Region 4, the price of regular-milled rice was monitored at P30-P34/kg and well-milled rice at P34-P37/kg.

    The NFA sells regular-milled rice at P27/kg and well-milled rice at P32/kg in all public markets nationwide. The agency also continues to hold sufficient buffer stock of rice for market stabilization and to effectively address any emergency rice requirements.

    With reports from William Depasupil, Neil Alcober and James Konstantin Galvez

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