Albay under state of calamity due to El Niño

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2019   •   1580

The province of Albay in Bicol region has been placed under state of calamity due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Based on the report of the Provincial Agriculture Office, the intense heat has damaged corn and rice crops in the region amounting to P125 million.

Heavily hit were the municipalities of Oas, Camalig, Pio Duran, Polangui, Ligao, Daraga, and Legazpi.

Apart from damage to agriculture, the heat also dried up irrigation channels.

Danny Garcia, Spokesperson for the Albay provincial government, has assured they have prepared assistance for affected farmers, including vegetable seeds that could be easily grown with less water.

“We have enough funds to help the farmers for their livelihood programs and to give them seedlings for root crops or other kinds of plant that they can plant which does not need much water,” Garcia said.

Camarines Sur, which is also in Bicol, has earlier declared a state of calamity also due to the effects of El Niño. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Allan Manansala)

DENR finds violations in 14 quarry operations in Albay

Marje Pelayo   •   November 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has found violations in 14 quarry operations in the province of Albay. 

This prompted the Department to suspend the operations of the said quarry sites located at the foot of Mount Mayon.

Among the notable violations is operating beyond the authorized area, according to DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones.

“Ang paglabag na nakita namin doon ay iyong nag-exceed doon sa kanilang allowable area at iyong mga iba naman mga expired permits (We found some violations such as exceeding beyond the allowable area while some still operate despite expired permit),” Leones said.

The official noted that the companies operating the quarry sites may face administrative cases and a fine of P50,000 per violation.

It is also possible that they may be permanently closed if proven to have a history of successive violations. 

Leones said these quarrying operations could have contributed to the damaging lahar flow in San Francisco, Guinobatan in Albay during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly.

Hundreds of houses and properties were seen covered with lahar after the typhoon.

Leones stressed that affected residents may sue the companies for compensation for the damage they have caused. 

Around 100 quarry operations are now under investigation by the DENR and those that have been cleared of violations will be allowed to resume operation, Leones said.

Meanwhile, the Triple B — Build, Back, Better— Task Force formed by President Rodrigo Duterte is currently conducting post-typhoon assessment in areas damaged by the recent calamities.

The task force formed through Executive Order 120 is composed of different agencies led by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Leones said the task force will meet on Friday (November 27) to discuss recommendations on how to rehabilitate the typhoon-ravaged areas specifically Cagayan, Isabela, Bicol and Marikina. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Luzon placed under state of calamity

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation to place the entire Luzon region under state of calamity following the onslaught of consecutive typhoons.

The President announced on Tuesday evening (November 17) during his weekly public address that he signed the proclamation in response to the recommendation by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Based on NDRRMC’s latest report, Typhoon Ulysses caused P2.715-B worth of damage to agriculture and P5.25-B worth of damage to infrastructure.

This is on top of the total amount of damages left by previous cyclones Quinta and Rolly.

Under state of calamity, the national government and the local government units (LGUs) are given authority to use their respective funds to address the needs brought about by the calamity.

Meanwhile, the president stressed his intention to construct sturdy evacuation centers in the country following the devastation of evacuation centers from the recent cyclones.

He asked Congress to fund the construction of such structures as they serve as temporary shelter to victims of calamities and disasters.

“Iyon sana ang tugunan ng Congress kasi kapag ganitong deluge, [That’s something Congress must address because in times of a deluge] they tend to go to places for shelter and relief,” Duterte said.

“We build a strong structure, stronger than a typhoon that would come their way for people to stay. Maybe small rooms with many comfort rooms where people can really stay for a while,” he added.

To date, the NDRRMC reported a total of 73 individuals perished from Typhoon Ulysses in addition to only 25 from Super Typhoon Rolly — the strongest cyclone that hit the country this year. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

NDRRMC recommends placing entire Luzon under state of calamity

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday said it will recommend the declaration of a state of calamity over the entire Luzon following the widespread damage brought about by the typhoons that pummeled the country in the previous weeks.

NDRRMC executive director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said the recommendation was agreed during the agency’s emergency meeting Monday to discuss the impacts of the recent typhoons and the early recovery actions.

“It was approved during the meeting the recommendation for President Rodrigo Duterte to place under state of calamity the entire Luzon to address the impacts of the latest typhoons that hit the country,” Jalad said in a statement.

“It was also agreed during the meeting to convene a technical working group of the joint prevention, mitigation, and preparedness clusters of the NDRRMC to assess the current dam management,” he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also serves as NDRRMC chairperson, asked the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) to revisit its historical data to strengthen warnings beforehand.

During the meeting, Lorenzana also raised various concerns to different agencies, including the provision of assistance to the affected farmers and fisherfolks, road clearing operations shelter requirements, and other recovery interventions.

As stated in Republic Act 7581, no price increase will be implemented among basic commodities when a state of calamity is declared.

In the previous weeks, strong storms such as Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses battered parts of Luzon, devastating many areas and leaving thousands of families homeless.

The recent typhoons also claimed dozens of lives in different areas including Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol, and Metro Manila.

Duterte earlier ordered the creation of an inter-agency task force that will ensure speedy gov’t response and relief operations during calamities.

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