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More casualties recorded due to tropical storm “Vinta”

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017


MANILA, Philippines — Authorities continue to conduct search and retrieval operations for missing individuals after the onslaught of tropical storm Vinta in the region of Zamboanga.

Forty residents of Zamboanga remain missing, while 70 others were confirmed dead.

Sixty-five of the casualties were residents of Zamboanga del Norte, while five were from Zamboanga Sibugay.

Despite the ongoing relief operations for affected residents, many of them are still having extreme difficulty after the powerful typhoon wreaked havoc in their region.

“Kaya ngayon nagmomoblema ako kung ano ang gagastusin ko dito sa mga kakailanganin ( I’m having problems on where to get money to spend for our needs,” said Robin Alimpong, relative of a casualty.

Albinia Agan, a resident of Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay said, ” Isa talaga sa kailangan namin ay banig, kumot, kulambo, kaldero dahil yung mga nawalan ng bahay, walang-wala talaga (Among our needs are beddings, blankets, mosquito nets, pots. After we lost our homes, we also lost our valuables).”

Meanwhile, typhoon Vinta has also damaged 542 infrastructures, while 2,250 affected residents are still staying at temporary shelters.

Two national highways remain closed. These are in the municipalities of Mahayag and Salug, where the bridges have been also damaged.

According to Junalyn Maravillo, an officer of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management of the Kabasalan Municipality, the residents have to follow warnings in case another calamity strikes so as to avoid many casualties.

“Although informed sila dahil kung hindi sila nainformed lahat sila ay malulunod. Informed sila na mag-preemptive evacuation na sa upper area kaya sudden talaga ang pagtaas ng water level,  (Although they had been informed, because if they were not, they would have drowned by now. They were informed about the pre-emptive evacuation in the upper area. The rise in the water level was really sudden),” said Maravillo.

Maravillo also emphasized that authorities and local government officials properly issued warnings and advisories to the region’s residents.

However, the disaster response officer noted that the residents had just refused to evacuate from their homes. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News and Rescue


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Residents want halt of BBL hearings in Zamboanga City

by UNTV   |   Posted on Monday, February 19th, 2018

A Zamboanga City resident giving her thoughts on the issue of Bangsamoro Basic Law.

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HoR) is set to hold another hearing on March 2 in Zamboanga City in connection with the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

However, Zamboanga City residents believe lawmakers should no longer push through with the scheduled consultations.

Zamboanga local officials and residents have long been opposing the proposal to include their city in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. They noted that the consultations being held by Congress can no longer change their stance.

“Narinig na natin lahat. Nandyan na yung mga senador. Nandyan na yung Congress natin. Para sa akin hindi na maghi-hearing,” said Princess Dayang, a local resident.

(We have heard everything. The senators and congressmen were there. For me, there is no need for a hearing.)

Many of them also believe the consultations are politically-motivated.

“Nasa pag-uusap naman yan. Kung kailangan bakit hindi, pero usually kasi pagka ganyan political talaga yan,” said Maria Cristina Gil, a resident.

(It depends on the discussions. If it’s really needed, why not. But usually, these kinds of consultations are politically-motivated. )

The local government has already expressed disinterest to be part of the proposed Bangsamoro Region.

“In my talk with him [President Duterte] very, very briefly he told me that we are not included in Bisaya, and I think it pertains to the BBL,” said Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco.

“The LGU has not requested that the hearing will be conducted in Zamboanga City,” said Jawo Jimenez, secretary of the mayor.

They argue that the lawmakers and senators should just focus instead on the provinces and cities that expressed willingness to be part of the Bangsamoro Region. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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NDRRMC still on red alert status due to tropical depression ‘Basyang’

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Track of Low Pressure Area (formerly “Basyang” or Sanba) as of 5pm. (PAGASA-DOST)

MANILA, Philippines — Four were confirmed dead while six others were injured as tropical depression Basyang hit several areas in Visayas and Mindanao.

Almost 5,000 families or more than 21,000 individuals are temporarily staying at over 100 evacuation centers.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDDRMC) calls on the public not to disregard the government’s order to evacuate during times of calamity.

The NDDRMC noted that this would help avoid a repeat of a tragic incident in Gamoton Carascal Surigao del Sur and Albuera, Leyte where scores of individuals died and several others were injured due to a landslide.

Tropical depression Basyang has already destroyed 114 homes.

“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan po ang ating operation center ay nakataas sa red alert status para sa maigting na koordinasyon sa mga lokal na pamahlaan,” said NDRRMC Spokesperson Romina Marasigan.

(Until now our operation center is on red alert status so we can properly coordinate with local government units.)

Meanwhile, electricity is down in several areas of Siargao after power poles toppled amid the storm.

Several roads have also been damaged in Capiz, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

Despite the typhoon, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has allowed sea vessels to venture out into the sea.

The coast guard is still monitoring Palawan that has 145 stranded passengers at the ports of Cuyo and Araceli. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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NFA plans to import 250,000 metric tons of rice

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The tropical cyclones Urduja, Vinta and Agaton have depleted the National Food Authority’s (NFA) buffer stock of rice.

The agency’s spokesperson, Rebecca Olarte said that they have already requested 250,000 metric tons of rice to beef up their inventory.

NFA said that buying rice from local farmers is less likely because private dealers pay higher than the agency’s buying price of P17.00 for each kilogram of rice.

The agency is just waiting for the National Food Council’s approval on importation.

“Nakaposisyon na ito doon sa mga areas na madalas tinatamaan ng mga kalamidad at saka yung mga napo-forecast na pwedeng tamaan pa ng mga incoming typhoons,” said Olarte.

The NFA said that the total rice inventory of the country is good for 90 days and most of it is with the private sector.

Meanwhile, the National Food Authority is now crafting a program that will facilitate the marketing of agricultural products from the farmers.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol said farmers should be protected from exploitative middlemen.

“Ang nakita ko diyan (the way I see it), we are actually faced with an institutional anomaly in the food supply chain where from the farm to the market kontrolado ng traders saka (is controlled by traders and) middlemen,” he said.

The DA is now reviewing the formula that will measure the rice self-sufficiency of the country.

Piñol cited that Filipinos abroad should be removed from the total population of the country that consumes rice.

“Mga almost 10 million ang Pilipino sa labas (there are almost 10 million Filipinos overseas). Bakit natin sila isasama sa computation kung magkano kakaining bigas? (Why would we include them in the computation on rice consumption?)” said Piñol. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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