9 road sections in Luzon remain closed to traffic – DWPH

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2018   •   3784


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) advised the public that several roads and bridges in Luzon remain impassable to motorists following the effects of tropical storms and monsoon rains.

On its official social media  account on Wednesday (July 25), the agency said six (6) road sections in Cordillera Administrative Region; one (1) in Region I and two (2) in Region III are closed.

Road closures were prompted by continuous flooding, landslide, and on-going restorations of damaged bridges.

The agency provided the list of affected road sections and alternative routes to guide the public. — Marje Pelayo








Water level below normal in major dams in Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   April 29, 2019

La Mesa Dam

MANILA, Philippines – The water level in Magat Dam in Isabela has increased by 10 meters from 162 meters on April 1 to 172.93 meters as of 6:00 am today (April 29).

“May pag-ulan doon sa may bandang Isabela, sa Mountain Province. Kapag doon umulan papasok sa water reservoir ng Magat,” PAGASA Weather Specialist II Edgar Dela Cruz said.

However, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said this is still five meters short of the dam’s rule curve elevation or normal water level of 177.45 meters.

Other dams like Ipo (101m), Ambuklao (740.44m), Binga (566.27m) and Caliraya Dams, on the other hand, have recorded a slight increase in their respective water level in the past days.

Caliraya dam collected an additional one meter at 287.13 meters from its water reserve of 286.14 meters on Sunday (April 29).

La Mesa dam has become stagnant at 68.45m while San Roque (from 250.63m to 250.08m)  and Pantabangan (195.10m to 195.05m) dams suffered slight depletion from April 28 to April 29.

Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s main source of domestic water requirement, has its water level reduced from 179.97m to 179.50m as of 6:00 a.m. today.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said this level is already below Angat Dam’s minimum operating level of 180 meters.

Nevertheless, the agency noted that such water level remains above the dam’s critical level for domestic use. It is critical, however, to farmlands that depend irrigation from Angat Dam.

The dam is continuously releasing 38 cubic meters per second of water a day for Metro Manila; while the allocation for irrigation has been reduced to 10 cubic meters per second (cms) from 35 cms.

Experts warn that Angat dam might reach the critical level when its water reserve continues to drop to 160 meters.

The lowest level recorded was in July 2010 when Angat’s water dipped to 157.55 meters.

According to NWRB, the water level in Angat Dam will further recede to 173.52 meters in May.

If this happens, the agency will decide on whether or not to reduce the supply for Metro Manila in order to have enough supply in case of delay in the onset of the rainy season.

Iko-consider din natin ang succeeding months kasi for preparation. One of this is baka magkaroon ng adjustment sa allocation kung kinakailangan if wala pang masyadogn mga ulan na dumarating,” explained NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr.

(We will consider the succeeding months for the preparation. One of these is a possible adjustment in allocation when necessary is in case the onset of the rainy season is delayed.)

The agency added that the weak El Niño is expected to persist until August but several areas will experience normal rainfall starting May. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Expert urges government to strictly implement laws on building construction

Maris Federez   •   April 25, 2019

FILE PHOTO: A construction worker (NASH SAHAGUN / Photoville International)

An expert on structural engineering is confident that the Philippines has enough laws on the construction of buildings to ensure that infrastructures can withstand earthquakes and calamities.

Engineer Danny Domingo, a former president of the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines, said the country doesn’t have to adopt technologies from other countries such as Japan just to guarantee that edifices are earthquake-resilient.

He added that the problem lies in the implementation of the said laws, such as the National Building Code of the Philippines.

“It’s just a matter of applying what we have right now. The existing code, I believe, would be enough to make sure the buildings are okay. We have the right tool to make sure that our buildings will withstand the magnitude of earthquake. Nasa proper implementation lang,” he said

Domingo also reiterated the need to check on the old structures in Metro Manila, particularly those built in the 60s and 70s, and ascertain the ones that need to be demolished.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in the meantime, has assured that the building projects under the Build Build Build program of the government are all of good quality.

The DPWH Build Build Build Committee has committed to seeing to it that the infrastructures under their care are earthquake proof.

Secretary Mark Villar has also issued instructions to DPWH officials to conduct assessments on the structural integrity of big government projects that are now under construction. — Maris Federez (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Luzon quake death toll rises to 16

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The number of fatalities following the strong earthquake that hit parts of Luzon on Monday afternoon has climbed to 16, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Tuesday, April 23.

Most of the people killed in the 6.1 magnitude quake were from the province of Pampanga, which was heavily hit by the powerful temblor.

Of the 16 reported deaths, 12 were from Porac, two from Lubao and one from Angeles in Pampanga. One fatality was also reported in San Marcelino, Zambales.

The NDRRMC also said that 81 people were injured and 14 remain missing.

The agency, however, stressed that the mentioned figures are still subject to further validation by authorities.

The strong quake, the epicenter of which was located in Castillejos, Zambales, also damaged a total of 29 structures and buildings.

The NDRRMC said a blue alert status has been raised since Monday and regional disaster offices have been ordered to assess their respective areas of responsibility.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), for its part, has deployed a 12-man team to help in the ongoing search, rescue and retrieval operations in affected areas.

The Bureau of Fire Protection, on the other hand, sent 155 of its personnel, along with its rescue and fire trucks, and ambulance to Pampanga to assist in the rescue mission.

The NDRRMC said backhoes, jack hammers, hydraulics and cranes are now being used to fast track the operation.

The Department of Social Welfare and Develolment (DSWD), for its part, has prepositioned 305,830 family food packs, and other food and non-food items. A standby fund amounting to more than P1.3 billion was also allocated for other needs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) also reported that measures have already been taken to ensure safety in local fuel refinery units. Generator sets and floodlights were also dispatched for the ongoing operations in Porac, Pampanga.

“As per DOE, Petron Corporation conducted protective tripping of some units of its refinery,” NDRRMC said.

“Also per NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), Meralco dispatched 2 canter vehicles and 4 generator sets with 8 floodlights to Porac, Pampanga,” it added.

The quake also damaged parts of the Clark International Airport, resulting in the airport’s closure since Monday night.

The operations of Metro Manila’s main rail services were also suspended on Monday but operations have resumed since Tuesday morning. — Robie de Guzman


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