‘Falcon’ rains sink Boracay villages
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Heavy rains triggered flash floods in Boracay on Tuesday, amid efforts to rehabilitate the world-famous resort island.
Flooding, caused by heavy rains generated by the southwest monsoon that had been intensified by Tropical Storm “Falcon,” also hit Iloilo City and other towns in Iloilo province, forcing the authorities to call off school in badly affected municipalities.
Classes were also suspended in schools in Bacolod City and 17 other areas in Negros Occidental province on Wednesday due to heavy rains brought by Falcon.
Falcon made landfall at Gattaran town in Cagayan province at 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday then moved out to sea.
Blowing out on Friday
It was centered at 265 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan, as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday and was expected to blow out of the Philippines by Friday, the weather service said.
Ana Clauren, a weather specialist at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, said Falcon was moving north-northwest at 20 kilometers per hour, with maximum winds of 65 kph and gusts of 80 kph.
Several provinces in northern Luzon remained under storm warning signals.
Signal No. 2 was up in Batanes and Signal No. 1 remained hoisted in Apayao, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and the Babuyan Islands.
Clauren said residents in those provinces should remain alert for floods and landslides as the weather would remain stormy on Thursday.
A 45-year-old man drowned while trying to cross a river, while eight families were evacuated to safer grounds in Cagayan as the storm hit the province on Wednesday.
Heavy rain triggered a landslide on Nagattutan Road in Gattaran.
Officials called off school because of bad weather in Cagayan; Ilagan, Isabela province; Santa Rosa, Aliaga and Rizal towns and San Jose City in Nueva Ecija; Bataan and the coastal areas of Macabebe and Sasmuan towns and Angeles City in Pampanga.
Scattered rains in Metro Manila
Clauren said residents of Metro Manila could expect scattered rain showers until Thursday evening, with Falcon intensifying the southwest monsoon.
Bad weather forced the cancellation of a dozen domestic flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Wednesday.
Sailings by small vessels in waters off the eastern seaboard of Luzon and the Visayas remained suspended.
In Boracay, residents posted photographs on social media showing people wading in waist-deep floodwaters.
Flooded were Barangay Balabag and parts of Barangay Yapak, according to Catherine Fulgencio, municipal disaster officer of Malay town in Aklan province, where Boracay is located.
Floodwaters reached a meter deep in some areas, she said.
Residents in some parts of Sitio Bulabog in Balabag were being readied for evacuation in anticipation of continued rains, she added.
Closed for rehab
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Boracay closed for six months last year for cleanup and rehabilitation.
But rehabilitation work, including the upgrading of the main road, drainage and sewage systems, remain unfinished, with several projects set for completion either next year or in 2021.
Big waves generated by strong winds overturned a fishing boat off Sipalay City in Negros Occidental province on Tuesday.
Zeaphard Caelian, head of the provincial disaster office, said the four fishermen who had ventured to sea on the boat—Isagani Moises, Alan Aranez, Romel Tablatin and Arnold Aranez—were rescued.
In Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, 1,640 families remained in shelters on Wednesday as bad weather prevailed in the province.
Kapatagan was the hardest hit among five towns in the province that went under water as heavy rains poured on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes.
Sixteen of Kapatagan’s 31 villages were flooded.
Claudio Tuastumban Jr., officer in charge of the municipal disaster office, said a team was assessing the damage caused by the flood as of Wednesday.
Schools in the town remained closed, as well as those in Tubod and Lala towns.
Other towns hit by floods on Tuesday were Sapad, Salvador and Sultan Naga Dimaporo.
—With reports from Patricia Denise M. Chiu, Jerome Aning, Villamor Visaya Jr., Leilanie Adriano, Armand Galang, Greg Refraccion, Tonette Orejas and Richel Umel
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