Wednesday, October 10, 2018

‘Mangkhut’ leaves P3.2B damages in Ilocos Norte

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—As Ilocos Norte was still recovering from weeklong monsoon rains, typhoon Mangkhut (local name Ompong) pummeled the province leaving PHP3.2 billion in agriculture and infrastructure damages.

Provincial officials immediately placed Ilocos Norte under a state of calamity in a Sangguniang Panlalawigan special session on September 17, 2018. The SP members unanimously passed Draft Provincial Resolution No. 2018-09-265 declaring the province under state of calamity.

The extent of damages in agriculture amounted to more than PHP1.88 billion with most of damages on rice affecting 48,229 hectares, livestock worth PHP78 million, high value crops, PHP24.7 million and at least PHP20,000 for fisheries.

The estimated damages of PHP1.37 billion in infrastructure cover flood and river control projects, roads, bridges, irrigation facilities and tourist centers.

Damaged schools
Mangkhut, which the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii was classified as a super typhoon, also left 19 primary and secondary public schools in the province with blown off roofs and broken glass windows with initial estimated damages of PHP12.6 million.

Vilma Eda, Ilocos Norte Schools Division Superintendent reported that among the schools that incurred major damages to its classrooms are the Bingao and Asuncion Elementary Schools in San Nicolas, Saoit Elementary School in Burgos, Caparispisan Elementary School in Pagudpud, Nagbacalan and Salbang Elementary Schools in Paoay, Malaguip Intergrated School, Sarrat National High School, Vintar Elementary School and Ablan Central School, also in Burgos town.

Casualty report
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Resiliency Council (PDRRMRC), as of press time, reported no casualty except for an incident monitored involving 21-year old Patrick James Cainglit, a resident of Gabut Norte in Badoc, Ilocos Norte who was electrocuted when he accidentally stepped on a live wire while fixing a television antenna at about 11 a.m. on September 14. The victim was rushed to the nearby Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City for treatment.

But during the interpolation period, Board Member Ma. Christina Fariñas urged the PDRRMRC to coordinate closely with hospitals to get the actual number of casualties.

She revealed that her father, Rep. Rodolfo C. Fariñas (1st district, Ilocos Norte) also became a victim of “Mangkhut”. According to Ms. Fariñas, his father was rushed to the Gov. Roque B. Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital, which at that time only had one doctor on duty at past 3 a.m. on September 15, 2018 when the strong winds shattered glass windows of their home and hit his father’s legs.

This however was not reflected in the PDRRMRC report.

According to Engr. Peter Agcaoili, PDRRMRC officer-in-charge, it is a matter of protocol that the Laoag City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to have reported the incident to the PDRRMRC which collects data from the 21 towns and two cities of the province.

Nonetheless, SP member Da Vinci Crisostomo who hails from Batac City, lauded the personnel of the PDRRMRC and other volunteers who worked hard and did their best in maintaining zero casualty amidst fierce winds that hit northern Luzon.

Access to calamity funds
Through the declaration, Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Eugenio Angelo M. Barba said local government units in barangay, municipal and provincial levels now have access to their remaining five percent calamity fund.

Du30 in IN
President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived in the province on September 16, 2018 to personally inspect the typhoon damages.

During the meeting with President Duterte and his cabinet, held at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Ms. Marcos said: “It’s very clear-cut, particularly in District 2. May I urge that the Public Works [Department] restore the 2nd District allocation which was removed from the budget last year… 92% of the damage occurred in the 2nd District, based on unfinished projects that were not continued.”

In terms of human life, zero casualties were recorded.

General Roy A. Cimatu, Environment and Natural Resources secretary, commented, “This is an indication of the anti-disaster consistence of the Ilocanos, especially from Ilocos Norte, with the leadership of the governor.”

Preemptive evacuation
MS. Marcos initiated pre-emptive evacuation as early as September 12, two days before the typhoon reached its peak strength in the province. The provincial government also conducted forced evacuation of coastal communities on September 14 and 15, 2018.

She said, “It’s nothing short of a miracle: a lot of prayer and a total number of evacuees of almost 14,000. We started with pre-emptive evacuation very early on Wednesday night, so they said I was exaggerated, but as it turned out, it worked.

“We imposed a ‘lola watch:’ our priority were our senior citizens… the PWDs [persons with disabilities], pregnant women, the sick, and babies. We had four babies born in the evacuation centers,” added the governor.

She also issued a liquor ban by September 13 and initiated an animal evacuation. “We provided water and feeds. I do not know if it’s particular to Ilocos Norte, but Ilocanos refuse to move without their most valuable property: livestock. As a result, we had to move the animals before they would budge.”

Provincial hospitals were put on full alert for 72 hours throughout the typhoon. Moreover, a group of volunteer doctors had split into four roving teams, on the lookout for medical emergencies. (With a report from PGIN-CMO)

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