>> Sunday, October 25, 2009
Typhoon “Ramil” zigzagged around Cagayan and threatened to unleash its wrath over northern Luzon this weekend but only delivered rain even as the area was reeling from Typhoon “Pepeng “wherein 313 people died in the Cordillera due to Typhoon “Pepeng” in latest count.
In Bayambang, Pangasinan, five more persons were reported Friday to have drowned due to floodwaters, bringing to 62 the number of casualties in the province.
Butch Velasco, Public Information Officer, said the newly-discovered victims were identified as Ejay Padua of Manambong Parte, Edmund Paragas of Bani, Guillerma Dacagan of Bacnono, Elmer Menguin and William Camacho of Partagos, all of Bayambang.
This, as a leg believed that of a 12-year old boy reported missing with three others since they were buried alive in landslide last Oct. 8 - was recovered last week along the river leading to Aringay, La Union.
Baguio City administrator Peter Fianza Thursday afternoon dispatched a team from the city disaster coordinating council that transported the limb, together with a team of searchers led by the boy’s father.
While there was no immediate way to fully ascertain whether the find was that of the boy, Fianza said it would help his family cope with mourning, towards closure over its loss.
Miller Viernes, a freshman at the Irisan National High School , and three others remained unaccounted for after about two weeks of search and rescue operations for missing victims of a landslide that buried three houses at Purok 1 in Irisan at the height of typhoon Pepeng.
Volunteers came up empty after days clearing the debris and following the route of the Irisan River to Aringay and then shifting the search back to the landslide area.
Miller’s father, Orly, a farmer in Labilab, Itogon, Benguet led relatives to Tubao, La Union last Thursday and were told residents found five days before a limb snagged along their portion of the river.
He then texted his wife, Evelyn, who, in turn sought transport support from the CDCC. Fianza sent volunteers Melchor Tagayona and Rowell Garcia to fetch the searchers who went as far as Aringay.
Aside from the boy, also reported missing were Marceline Sevilla, her six-year old daughter Kimberly Sevilla, and her uncle Mario Tacloy.
Miller was staying with his aunt Marceline at Irisan while his parents and their two younger children – Delight, 11, and Jacob, 7 - live in Labilab.
In Tadian, Mountain Province, a huge portion of a village heavily ravaged by “Pepeng,” may suffer another massive landslide.
This, after the newly organized Kayan Disaster Coordinating Council, a community initiated civic organization that provides assistance to residents affected by disaster, said a huge portion of Upper Kayan, where an earlier huge landslide happened, is in danger of collapsing because of evident cracks on the mountain which could cave in during another wave of strong rains.
On Oct. 8, a huge landslide occurred which buried at least 18 houses in Kayan East that resulted in the death of 35 people and injury to four others.
Because of the tragic and traumatic experience and the closure of roads leading to the town to facilitate search, rescue, and retrieval operations, the whole community organized themselves, pooled their resources, and initiated the initial conduct of rescue operations in the spirit of unity and voluntarism.
Based on survey conducted by experts from the town and volunteers, the cause of the landslide could be attributed to the series of cracks noted on the slope the mountain that forms a hyperbolic figure.
Just above these cracks are rice fields and vegetable gardens.
In the Cordillera, the Office of Civil Defense said dead since Oct. 3 as a result of typhoons “Onyong” and “Pepeng” to date were 313 persons.
Injured were 181 while missing were18. Without citing any reason, the OCD said search and retrieval operations in areas where victims were believed to be buried have been suspended since Oct. 2.
To date, affected families were 88,409 or 421,861 persons. Evacuated families were 379 or 1801 persons.
Still in the Cordillera, initial cost of damages to roads was placed at P1103.356 billion, bridges at P40.66 million; health facilities, P4.65 million; public schools, P167.635 million and irrigation at P167.635 million.
On agriculture, crops, P689.687 million; livestock, 11.827 million and fishery. P9.56 million,
Assistance extended by the National Disaster Coordinating Council was P93,934,802.00 rice with PGMA financial assistance, Welfare and Development, P5,052,904.16 worth of family packs; local government units, P6,638,442.11 monetized relief assistance and non-government organizations at P2,989,623.60.
In Ilocos Region, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council rushed Thursday relief goods to residents in isolated areas in Ilocos Norte, La Union and Ilocos Sur.
The RDCC used two helicopters to carry the goods to move through poor weather caused by Ramil.
Chief Supt. Ramon Gatan, Ilocos police director and RDCC chair, said isolated areas are villages affected recently by Pepeng.
Aside from the distribution of relief goods, Gatan said he instructed all provincial disaster coordinating councils in Region 1 to conduct pre-positioning of rescuers and for the conduct of pre-emptive evacuation to affected residents.
He said policemen and personnel from the Philippine Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard based in Poro Point were deployed in critical areas to assist residents in case of emergency.
In Aurora province, Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo said the provincial government extended P100,000 in calamity assistance to Isabela province and Botolan, Zambales which were among those hard-hit by typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.
The cash donation was coursed through the League of Governors of the Philippines.
Angara-Castillo said it was the Aurora people’s way of expressing gratitude to God for having been spared from the devastation wrought by the twin typhoons. -- By Mar T. Supnad, Ramon Dacawi, Dexter A. See, Liam Anacleto, Jennelyn Mondejar, Luis Jose, Francis Degay, Angel Baybay, Armand Tamaray and Jerry Padilla