‘Pedring’ leaves 16 dead across Luzon
Typhoon “Pedring” (international name: Nesat) on Tuesday whipped Luzon with powerful winds and bursts of heavy rain, killing at least 16 people including four children, knocking out power, triggering flash floods and mudslides, swelling rivers and spawning storm surges.
Pedring cut a wide swath of destruction starting on Monday evening, swirling within a diameter of 650 kilometers. It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Wednesday afternoon.
“But it’s still risky to travel by air, sea and land, particularly in Luzon. There will be a gradual improvement of the weather beginning late [Wednesday],” Robert Sawi, officer in charge of Pagasa’s weather division, said in a briefing at past 5 p.m. Tuesday.
In a briefing before noon, Sawi said: “the same stormy weather should be expected in the next two days.”
Pedring maintained its strength Tuesday afternoon as it swirled toward the West Philippine Sea, Pagasa said.
The typhoon continued to pack maximum winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph as it hovered 70 km west northwest of Baguio City at around 4 p.m.
With the typhoon lashing much of Luzon, the Department of Education (DepEd) suspended classes at all levels in several regions. It also postponed Wednesday’s National Career Assessment Examination in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol and Metro Manila “due to operational and administrative limitations.”
The nationwide exam, administered on students in third year high school, is now scheduled on Friday, September 30, in the cited regions but will push through Wednesday in regions spared by the typhoon.
The exam was to have been conducted simultaneously Wednesday, but Pedring held up the transport of test materials to regions along its path.
“Depending on the local situation in those areas, regional and division offices may decide to further move the examination date,” the DepEd said.
In a statement, the DepEd called on school officials and residents in typhoon-ravaged areas to report damages to school buildings and other property through its 24-hour operation center (hotline: 0939-6521111; fax:  6337263; and e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lowered storm signals
As Pedring swirled closer to its exit, Pagasa maintained some storm signals in some areas but lowered signals in others, including Metro Manila.
Signal No. 2 was still up over La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Tarlac, Benguet and Ilocos Sur while Signal No. 1 remains raised over Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Quirino, Bulacan and Metro Manila.
Senior weather forecaster Rene Paciente said Pedring would continue to enhance the southwest monsoon to bring rain and winds.
The automatic suspension of classes at all levels took effect in the Bicol region, where Storm Signal No. 3 was hoisted.
Classes from preschool to high school were also suspended in all of Calabarzon, Occidental Mindoro, Isabela, Cagayan, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya provinces.
Initial body count
Five people were killed in Metro Manila, one in Catanduanes province and another in Ilocos Norte province, according to the initial casualty report issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Tuesday night.
In a briefing, NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos said at least three people were injured and four others were reported missing (three in Quezon province and one in Aurora province) based on initial confirmed field reports.
Demelita Naya, 63, and her three grandsons—BJ delos Santos, 6; James delos Santos, 3; and Romel Amarga Naya, 4—were crushed to death when a wall collapsed on their home in S. Bautista de Castro Subdivision in Valenzuela City at the height of the typhoon.
Another casualty was reported in Caloocan City but had yet to be identified.
The first reported casualty was Chawn Andrie Daliora, a year and 10 months old, of Barangay (village) Cabugao in Bato, Catanduanes. Daliora fell into a creek as he was being carried by his parents on their way to an evacuation camp. His body has since been recovered.
The other casualty was Delia Casas, 59, who died in a vehicular accident in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
Ramos later Tuesday night said the death toll had reached 16 but gave no other details.
There were other reported casualties in the provinces that were not yet included in the NDRRMC’s tally.
In an interview, Josefina Timoteo, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Central
Luzon, reported that Pedring left at least two men dead in the region.
The two were identified as Bryan Anthony Jandesa, who died in a landslide in Olongapo City, and Andrew Pallorina, who met a fatal road accident in Zambales province due to the bad weather.
Pedring plus monsoon
At its peak, Pedring packed maximum winds of 140 kph and gusts of up to 170 kph.
But after hitting land between Aurora and Isabela at around 4 a.m. Tuesday and crossing Sierra Madre, it slightly weakened to 120 kph in maximum winds and 150 kph in gustiness at around 10 a.m.
Pagasa blamed the “combined effect” of the typhoon and the southwest monsoon for the howling winds and bursts of heavy rain over Metro Manila.
“The monsoon is packing winds of 65 kph. It’s as strong as that of a storm,” Pagasa’s Sawi said before noon.
As early as Tuesday noon, Pagasa warned of floods and landslides in mountainous areas in most parts of Luzon, storm surges in coastal areas of Luzon, and continuous monsoon rains and gusty winds in Metro Manila.
At 10 a.m. Tuesday, authorities continued to open the gates of Ipo Dam in Bulacan province because the water had risen to 100.50 meters, exceeding its spilling level of 100.20 meters, as well as those of Binga Dam in Mountain Province and Ambuklao Dam in Benguet province, whose waters had risen close to their spilling levels.
Authorities also opened the gates of Angat Dam in Bulacan Tuesday afternoon. By 4 p.m., the water in the dam had climbed to 210.97 meters, slightly above the spilling level of 210 meters.
“The water rose by 2 meters in just two hours. That’s how strong the rainfall is in the catchment,” said Roy Badilla, assistant weather services chief of Pagasa.
Local officials and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (PDRRMC) in Central Luzon said some people were killed after being pinned down by trees felled by the typhoon.
Bulacan Administrator Jim Valerio said year-old Jeselle Mae Basco and 11-year-old Glorie Mae Jose were killed when a mango tree fell on their house in Barangay Poblacion in Sta. Maria town at 11 a.m.
Ricamae Catipay, 6, died in similar circumstances in Barangay Muzon in San Jose del Monte City. Her mother and five other family members were hurt, reports said.
Robelyn Borre, 9, died in a similar manner, according to Mayor Jerry Pelayo of Candaba, Pampanga province.
Two others were likewise pinned, one fatally, in Barangay Calapacuan in Subic, Zambales, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Central Luzon reported. No names were available at press time.
But in Bataan, Governor Enrique Garcia Jr. was unhurt when a tree fell on his car, according to his son, Balanga Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III. The governor’s driver was injured and taken to a hospital.
In Olongapo City, a PIA report said Bryan Anthony Landeza, 19, died when a landslide hit his family’s house in Barangay Mabayuan. Landeza died while being taken to hospital.
Exposed to the elements
Strong waves battered coastal communities in Bulacan, Zambales, Pangasinan, La Union, Pangasinan and Isabela, forcing the evacuation of residents there.
Falling trees snapped power lines, cutting electricity in several towns and cities in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Central Luzon.
Heavy rains also flooded major cities and urban centers and roads in these regions and swelled rivers in Cagayan and Isabela. Landslides triggered by continuous rains blocked roads in Cordillera.
In Baguio City, the city government secured its 50-meter-high decommissioned dump by covering it with tarpaulin sheets.
Exactly a month ago, this dump in Barangay Irisan was toppled by rains brought by Typhoon “Mina,” burying several houses and killing six people.
In the Cordillera region, at least eight major mountain roads have been closed due to landslides, reports from the OCD regional office showed.
Strong rains triggered mud and rock slides that closed sections of the Baguio-Bontoc Road, Mt. Province-Cagayan via Tabuk-Enrile Road, and Mountain Province-Nueva Vizcaya Road.
The Calacaban Bridge, which connects to the Mt. Province-Ilocos Sur Road, was also closed, due to rotting lumber and stolen parts that need replacement.
In Abra province, landslides closed a section of the Abra-Kalinga Road, while rock slides in Kalinga blocked the Tabuk-Banaue Road.
In Benguet, Kennon Road was closed to traffic due to landslides but the other major routes to Baguio, including Marcos Highway and Naguilian Road, were open to all types of vehicles.
Wind, not rain
By 5 p.m. Tuesday, the total number of evacuees in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) had reached 3,014, officials said. The number included 1,000 in Rizal, 1,585 in Cavite, 269 in Quezon and 160 in Batangas.
The evacuations were conducted “not so much because of the rain as because of the strong wind,” Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla said in a phone interview. “The waves have gone up to as high as 8-10 feet.”
A 2-year-old, John Clement Yuri from Kawit, Cavite province, was reported missing since Monday night.
Strong winds caused a power outage in Real, Infanta and Nakar towns in Quezon province and in the entire fourth district of Laguna (composed of the towns of Pila, Sta. Maria, Sta. Cruz, Pagsanjan, Famy, Mabitac, Pangil, Pakil, Siniloan, Cavinti, Luisiana, Lumban, Kalayaan and Magdalena).
In the Bicol region, 18 fishermen were reported missing.
Captain Tranquilino Paiton, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard in Bicol, said that of the 18, five were feared lost at sea off Masbate province, while the 13 have yet to return home to Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte.
He identified the five from Masbate as Geran Calvo, Jhun-Jhun Alfornon, Bobby Pepito, Francisco Laurio and Diolita Laurio, and the 13 from Camarines Norte as Gilbert Fernan, Orly Sarmiento, Antonio Agua, Crisanto Lanzaderas, Nestor Barreto, Zaldy Sarmiento, Roy Malait, Gaspar Fernan, Deovimer Blusa, Julius Clacio, Ruben Lopez, Edgar Velasco and Alvin Ramores.
In Albay, Governor Joey Salceda directed 91,849 persons (14,855 families) to return home from evacuation camps in the towns of Malinao, Daraga, Oas, Libon and Polangui, and Legazpi City. Reports from TJ Burgonio, Tarra Quismundo and Dona Pazzibugan in Manila; Villamor Visaya Jr., Vincent Cabreza, Charles Keith and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Tonette Orejas, Cesar Villa, Anselmo Roque and Armand Galang, Inquirer Central Luzon; Maricar Cinco, Delfin Mallari Jr., Mar Arguelles, Jonas Cabiles Soltes and Jerome Balinton, Inquirer Southern Luzon
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