Southern Luzon bears brunt of bad weather
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — About 3,000 families, or more than 9,000 people, in the provinces of Palawan, Camarines Sur and Oriental Mindoro were displaced by flooding and landslides due to incessant rains dumped by the northeast monsoon and two low-pressure areas (LPA) over Southern Luzon and Eastern Visayas on Thursday, authorities said.
Most of the flood-hit residents were from the southern Palawan, where 2,713 families (8,700 people) were temporarily seeking shelter in different evacuation sites and relatives’ houses, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO). Hardest hit was Brooke’s Point in Palawan, where at least six houses were destroyed by severe flooding.
Also affected by the widespread flooding in Palawan were the low-lying villages in Rizal and Sofronio Española towns. In the Bicol region, at least 40 families had to flee their homes as floodwater submerged some villages in the towns of Calabanga and Tinambac in Camarines Sur.
Gremil Alexis Naz, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol spokesperson, said 23 villages were also flooded in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon due to continuous rains that started on Wednesday. There were still no reports of displaced residents in these areas.
A rain-induced landslide was reported at Barangay San Francisco in Sorsogon’s Casiguran town, while seven road sections were rendered impassable by floods in Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
In Oriental Mindoro, at least 11 villages in Baco town were submerged under knee- to waist-deep floods, while three more villages in City of Calapan and 12 villages in Naujan were also flooded, affecting 496 families.
Since Wednesday, at least 201 families in Baco, Naujan, Victoria and Calapan have sought temporary refuge in evacuation centers or relatives’ homes.
Reports from the disaster response offices of Calapan and Naujan showed that several rivers in these areas had reached critical level due to torrential rain.
The inclement weather also forced the suspension of classes in places that continued to experience torrential rains.
Camarines Sur Gov. Vincenzo Renato Luigi Villafuerte suspended classes at all levels in both public and private schools in the province due to the bad weather.
In Naga City, only classes in pre-school through senior high school were suspended on Thursday.
Classes were also suspended in the towns of Talisay and Daet in Camarines Norte and Virac in Catanduanes province.
In Albay, classes were canceled in Legazpi City and in the towns of Camalig, Bacacay, Daraga and Guinobatan.
Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal placed the emergency operations center on high alert and advised village officials to conduct a preemptive evacuation as needed.
In Quezon province, the local governments of Infanta, General Nakar, Real and the island towns of Polillo and Panukulan also suspended classes at all levels on Thursday.
Infanta Vice Mayor Lord Arnel Ruanto said the Marikina-Infanta Road was rendered impassable to all types of vehicles on Thursday due to two landslides at Barangay Magsaysay.
The 110-km Marikina-Infanta Road, a major link to Metro Manila, stretches from Sumulong Highway in the provinces of Rizal and Laguna to Infanta, passing along the slopes of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.
A landslide also hit a section of Barangay Tanauan in neighboring Real town and another in Mauban town, reports said.
In its bulletin on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said an LPA would continue to trigger rain in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) and Bicol regions, the Visayas and Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Caraga and Davao regions.
Pagasa also said Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) would experience rains due to the northeast monsoon or “amihan.”
Pagasa said the two LPAs were unlikely to become tropical depressions as these move farther from the Philippine area of responsibility.
No typhoon will develop in the country until the weekend, although the northeast monsoon will continue to bring scattered rains and chilly weather in the next few days, the state weather bureau said.
Undersecretary Edu Punay, officer in charge of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said his agency had prepositioned relief items in “strategic locations” in the country.
According to the DSWD, it has over P100 million worth of funds on standby while more than 85,200 family food packs are available in the agency’s central and field offices.
—REPORTS FROM GERALDFORD TICKE, MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES, DELFIN T. MALLARI JR., MADONNA T. VIROLA, ABBY BOISER AND DEMPSEY REYES
LIST: Class suspensions on Friday, Jan. 6 due to inclement weather
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