11 die in rough waters; thousands flee floods
Eleven people died on Saturday after three passenger boats capsized in rough waters in the Visayas, while thousands fled their homes as monsoon rains triggered floods and caused rivers to swell in several provinces in Luzon.
Three people went missing while 63 survivors were plucked from the water after huge waves swamped the boats in the Guimaras Strait, said Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, director of the Western Visayas Police Regional Office.
Lt. Cmdr. Joe Luviz Mercurio, spokesperson of the Western Visayas district of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), said the motorboats Chi-Chi and Keziah capsized in the waters between Iloilo and Guimaras provinces shortly past noon.
The Iloilo Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said five of the fatalities were brought to Guimaras while the three others, including a 3-year-old boy, were brought to Iloilo City.
Chi-chi reportedly had 43 passengers and four crew members, while Keziah had a crew of four and no passengers.
Another motorboat, the Jenny Vince, was carrying a still-undetermined number of passengers when it capsized around 3 p.m. There were no reported casualties from Jenny Vince as of late Saturday.
In Cebu province, the PCG said a cargo vessel with an 18-member Chinese crew ran aground in the waters off Lauis Ledge, Talisay City, past 7 a.m.
“Initial information we received said that the vessel unfortunately ran aground while entering the traffic separation scheme (of the Mactan Channel),” said Lt. j.g. Michael Encina of PCG-Cebu.
The Chinese crew members were found safe, Encina said, quoting rescuers and medical teams who rushed to the vessel, MV Arikun.
In Northern Samar province, at least 11 houses and a public market were damaged when a tornado hit three villages in Lavezares town.
“It happened in just a matter of seconds but was enough to cause destruction on some houses,” said Police Maj. Joseph Quilitano, the town’s police chief.
In Negros Occidental province, seven houses were destroyed while 41 others were damaged when two tornadoes struck around 10:30 a.m.
In Cavite province, residents in Ternate town moved to evacuation centers amid rising floodwaters.
Ternate disaster response chief Sixto Caisip said 69 families from Barangay San Juan 1 were evacuated. Five more villages near the swollen Maragondon River were flooded.
On Friday, at least 12 houses in Ternate’s coastal area were washed out by onrushing waves, Caisip said.
Ankle- to knee-deep floods were reported in parts of Cavite City and Bacoor City, said provincial disaster response chief Rhoda Periodico.
In Pampanga province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said monsoon rains coinciding with the high tide left at least 58 barangays in six towns underwater. These were in Macabebe (24 villages), Lubao (14), Masantol (11), Apalit (4), Sasmuan (4) and Bacolor (1).
The water level in the communities rose to as high as 1.5 meters (5 feet), the council’s report said.
In Albay province, floods hit low-lying villages in the towns of Jovellar, Polangui and Libon, said Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety, Emergency and Management Office.
The weather bureau warned that a low-pressure area 975 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes province, could develop into a tropical depression in 24 to 36 hours.
Weather specialist Florie dela Cruz of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” will continue to bring rains over the regions of Calabarzon, Central Luzon and Mimaropa, as well as the National Capital Region.
Should a tropical depression develop inside the Philippine area of responsibility, it will be given the local name “Hanna,” Dela Cruz said.
—Reports from AFP, Maricar Cinco, Mar S. Arguelles, Tonette Orejas, Melvin Gascon, Patricia Denise M. Chiu, Nestle Semilla, Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Joel Franco, Joey Gabieta and Carla Gomez
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