Gov’t allots P486M for typhoon aid
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has P486.6 million in funds available to help those affected by Tropical Storm “Jolina” (international name: Conson) and Typhoon “Kiko” (Chanthu), Malacañang said on Thursday as it assured the public that it was keeping a close watch on the situation.
“We ask the public to continue to remain alert and vigilant, take precautionary measures, observe minimum public health standards and cooperate with their respective local authorities in case of an evacuation,” said presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.
Roque said P442.9 million in quick response funds were lodged with the DSWD central office.
Another P11.2 million are with its field offices in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol and Western Visayas, while P32.5 million are in other DSWD field offices and may be used for the relief needs of displaced families, Roque said.
Disaster response centers also have 12,535 food packs, he added.
The country’s weather agency on Thursday said Kiko was moving northwestward over the Philippine Sea and might not make landfall anymore, as Jolina continued to exit from Luzon’s landmass.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (Pagasa) 5 p.m. bulletin on Thursday, Kiko was last located 550 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora province.
It was moving west-northwestward with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour near the center with gustiness of up to 240 kph. It would then traverse 255 km north-northwest of Itbayat, Batanes, by Sept. 12 before exiting the Philippine area of responsibility at 2 p.m. that day.
Pagasa, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, hoisted Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1 over Cagayan, including Babuyan Islands, the northeastern portion of Apayao and Isabela.
In Batanes province, the provincial government on Thursday urged residents to start securing their houses and put wind shutters in anticipation of strong winds and torrential rains due to Kiko.
In an advisory, Gov. Marilou Cayco also cautioned fishermen and operators of large vessels against sailing as the province could experience rough seas and storm surge while Kiko continued to gain strength as it approached the province.
Administrators of Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela, have allayed fears that the 39-year-old reservoir could collapse if it reaches its carrying capacity due to the expected heavy rain, adding that they have revised the protocol on water discharge and flood warning by improving its coordination with Pagasa.
In Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Jolina left P64 million worth of damaged crops and infrastructure in the region.
Gremil Alexis Naz, OCD Bicol spokesperson, said initial reports showed that losses to agriculture and fisheries reached P39,704,638, while the cost of damaged roads, bridges and other public infrastructure in the region’s six provinces reached P24,656,500.
The storm left three people dead and destroyed 190 houses and damaged 698 others in nine towns in Masbate province, where Jolina made landfall over Dimasalang town on Tuesday.
Among those who died was 5-year-old Arvie Bataican, who drowned when the boat carrying his family capsized while on its way to Carles town in Iloilo province. Still missing were Bataican’s brothers Romeo Jr., 9; Rico, 10; and Marlon, 6. Their parents Romeo, 37, and Rona, 35; and siblings Romelyn, 14, and Roldan, 19, have been rescued, the OCD said.
More than 35,000 people who fled their homes in Bicol have returned home as the weather improved on Wednesday, Naz said.
In Quezon province, most of the more than 22,000 people who sought shelter in evacuation centers on Tuesday and Wednesday in 29 towns had returned home early on Thursday, the provincial social welfare office said.
In Zambales province, personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard on Thursday were still searching for a fisherman in Cabangan town who was reported missing after venturing out to sea on Tuesday.
In Angeles City, the local government suspended modular and online classes in private and public schools as well as the work at the city government due to the bad weather on Thursday. —REPORTS FROM LEILA B. SALAVERRIA, KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING, MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES, DELFIN T. MALLARI JR., NATHAN ALCANTARA, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR., JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT AND JUN MALIG
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