Signal No.3 remains in some parts of Luzon as Typhoon Quinta batters Mindoro Island

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020   •   177

MANILA, Philippines— Typhoon Quinta maintains its strength and is traversing the vicinity of Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro, according to today’s 8:00AM weather bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

On Monday (October 26) morning, Typhoon Quinta is forecast to remain a typhoon as it hovers over Mindoro Island.

After emerging over the West Philippine Sea, this typhoon is seen to re-intensify and may reach its peak intensity within 24 to 48 hours.

Typhoon Quinta is forecast to exit the PAR Tuesday morning (October 27).

As forecast, typhoon Quinta will bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, CALABARZON, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, northern Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, Aklan, Capiz, and Antique. 

The tail-end of a frontal system will likewise bring moderate to heavy rains over Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Kalinga, Abra, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur. 

The combined effects of these two weather systems will also bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Metro Manila, Zamboanga Peninsula, Bangsamoro, Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and the rest of Luzon and Visayas. 

Residents in affected areas are advised to take measures against flooding including flash floods and landslides that may occur during heavy or prolonged rainfall especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) remains hoisted over several parts of the country as follows:

TCWS #3 (Winds of greater than 121 km/h up to 170 km/h may be expected in at least 18 hours.)

  • Luzon
    • The southern portion of Batangas (Lian, Tuy, San Juan, Rosario, Padre Garcia, Lipa City, Cuenca, San Jose, Ibaan, Taysan, Lobo, Batangas City, Mabini, Tingloy, San Pascual, Bauan, Alitagtag, San Luis, Taal, Santa Teresita, Calatagan, Balayan, Calaca, Lemery, Agoncillo, San Nicolas, Mataas Na Kahoy)
    • The northern and central portion of Oriental Mindoro (Oriental Mindoro (Mansalay, Roxas, Bongabong, Bansud, Gloria, Pinamalayan, Pola, Socorro, Victoria, Naujan, Calapan City, Baco, San Teodoro, Puerto Galera)
    • The northern and central portion of Occidental Mindoro (San Jose, Rizal, Calintaan, Sablayan, Santa Cruz, Mamburao, Paluan, Abra de Ilog) including Lubang Island

TCWS #2 (Winds of greater than 61 km/h and up to 120 km/h may be expected in at least 24 hours.)

  • Luzon
    • Quezon
    • Rizal
    • Laguna
    • The rest of Batangas
    • Cavite
    • Metro Manila
    • The southern portion of Bulacan (Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Baliuag, Pulilan, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombong, Malolos City, Plaridel, Bustos, San Jose del Monte City, Santa Maria, Pandi, Guiguinto, Balagtas, Bulacan, Bocaue, Meycauayan City, Obando, Marilao)
    • The southern portion of Pampanga (Lubao, Sasmuan, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, Apalit)
    • Bataan
    • Marinduque
    • The northern portion of Romblon (Concepcion, Banton, Corcuera, Romblon, San Agustin, Calatrava, San Andres, Odiongan, Santa Maria)
    • The rest of Oriental Mindoro
    • The rest of Occidental Mindoro
    • Calamian Islands
  • Visayas
    • The extreme northern portion of Antique (Caluya)

TCWS #1 (Winds of 30-60 km/h may be expected in at least 36 hours or intermittent rains may be expected within 36 hours.)

  • Luzon
    • Camarines Norte
    • The western portion of Camarines Sur (Siruma, Tinambac, Calabanga, Naga City, Pili, Bula, Balatan, Minalabac, Milaor, Bombon, Magarao, Canaman, Camaligan, Gainza, San Fernando, Pasacao, Pamplona, Cabusao, Libmanan, Sipocot, Lupi, Ragay, Del Gallego)
    • Burias Island
    • The rest of Romblon
    • The northern portion of Palawan (El Nido, Taytay) including Cuyo Islands
    • The southern portion of Aurora (Dingalan, San Luis)
    • The southern portion of Nueva Ecija (Gabaldon, Laur, Palayan City, General Tinio, Cabanatuan City, Aliaga, Zaragoza, Jaen, San Antonio, Santa Rosa, Peñaranda, Gapan City, San Leonardo, San Isidro, Cabiao)
    • The southern portion of Tarlac (La Paz, Tarlac City, San Jose, Concepcion, Capas, Bamban)
    • The rest of Bulacan
    • The rest of Pampanga
    • The central and southern portion of Zambales (Iba, Botolan, Cabangan, San Felipe, San Narciso, San Antonio, San Marcelino, Castillejos, Subic, Olongapo City)
  • Visayas
    • Aklan
    • The rest of the northern portion of Antique (Laua-An, Barbaza, Tibiao, Culasi, Sebaste, Pandan, Libertad)

Probe starts on possible cause of Cagayan-Isabela flood

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) maintained that prior to the entry of Typhoon Ulysses in the country on November 8, they were constantly reminding the public of its possible impact and the volume of rains that it might bring, similar to the previous weather disturbances that entered the country.

According to PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano, they also forewarned the public that since the previous typhoons had already saturated the ground, expect the possibility of massive flash floods on the onset of Typhoon Ulysses.

“Ang sabi ko during the press conference, mag-ingat tayo dito dahil saturated na ang kalupaan at pagdating ni Ulysses…si Ulysses ay nasa 400 ang radius ng kanyang influence so kaya widespread talaga ang ulan na dinala niya [What I said during the press conference was to be vigilant and prepare because the ground was already saturated even before Ulysses. Ulysses’ influence was 400-kilometer radius so rainfall was really widespread],” Malano explained during the joint committee hearing on Tuesday (November 24) led by the House Committee on Agriculture and Food and Special Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle.

The probe aims to determine the real cause of the worst flood in 40 years that submerged almost the entire Cagayan and Isabela provinces on November 11 in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses.

Many blamed the flood on water released from Magat Dam but according to the dam’s operator the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), all protocols regarding the release of water had been followed though the agency did not deny that it could have contributed to the deluge.

“Talagang matagal na iyong protocol. Ngayon lang natin nakita na it could have contributed to the flooding. Hindi naman namin na dinedeny dahil may tubig naman talagang lumabas [The protocol has been there a long time ago. It is only now that we realized it could have contributed to the flooding. We don’t deny that we released water (from the dam)],” said Ret/Gen. Ricardo Visaya, NIA Administrator.

“But hindi iyon talaga ang major reason or major caused ng flooding [But it was not the major reason or cause of the flooding],” he insisted saying they advised the communities six hours prior to the scheduled release of water on November 9 to give them time to prepare and, if possible, evacuate the area also in anticipation of the strong typhoon based on the information provided by PAGASA.

NIA explained that it is not only Magat River (where Magat Dam is located) but there are 20 other tributaries or rivers that bring water to the catch basin which is Cagayan River. 

In fact, Magat River brings only about 15% of water to Cagayan River.

Given this information, Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy asked the officials which among the government agencies are responsible now for projecting the potential impact or extent of hazards like the flash flood that happened in Cagayan and Isabela.

“Who analyzes the effect in the provinces where the dam is located or where flooding has occurred?” asked the lawmaker.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad of the Office of the Civil Defense said all member agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are well-represented every time they have meetings and that includes the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the one responsible for flood control in the country.

For its part, the DPWH said there was actually an existing masterplan for the Cagayan River flood control project that was established way back 2002 though it was not pushed through due to problems in funding.

“In this Cagayan, we have the master plan in 2002 and feasibility study however because of the magnitude cost during that time it was not pushed through for financing,” explained DPWH’s Project Director for Flood Control Management Cluster Ramon Ariola.

The DPWH is now planning to conduct dredging efforts in the Cagayan River as well as constructing six more dams on the upper area of the waterway.

The NDRRMC, meanwhile, is now in discussion over the creation of a committee that will focus on the management and safety of dams in the country.

In the next hearing, the joint committee seeks to hear from the River Basin Control Office, a sub-agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to speak its side on the issue. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


SSS to provide calamity assistance to members, pensioners in typhoon-hit areas

Maris Federez   •   November 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) on Sunday announced that it will open an assistance package for its members and pensioners in areas declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as under a state of calamity due to Super Typhoon Rolly, Typhoon Quinta, and Typhoon Ulysses.

On its Facebook post, the SSS said the assistance program will be open on 27 November 2020.

The assistance package will include the Calamity Loan Assistance Program (CLAP), Three-month Advance Pension for SS and Employees’ Compensation pensioners, and the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan. 

“Applications for CLAP and the Three-month Advance Pension will be open from 27 November 2020 until 26 February 2021. The Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan will be open for one year from the issuance of its corresponding circular,” the advisory added.

The SSS added that it will be coordinating with its media partners and shall utilize its Facebook page for the release of the complete guidelines for the said programs.

The SSS concluded that it “commiserates with everyone who was affected by the said typhoons. It hopes that through the assistance package and its regular benefit programs, it may help its members and pensioners during these difficult times.” —/mbmf

Heavy rainfall, siltation, high tide among possible causes of Marikina River overflow — USec. Solidum

Marje Pelayo   •   November 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Residents of Marikina City and the city government did not expect the sudden increase in Marikina River’s water level in the course of Typhoon Ulysses.

The river burst its banks reaching 22 meters high around 11:00 AM on Thursday (November 12).

Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said that yesterday’s water level surpassed that of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009 which was at 21.5 meters.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) explained that the volume of rain brought by typhoon Ulysses was higher as compared to Typhoon Rolly but still, Typhoon Ondoy had the highest level of rains.

“Iyong kay Bagyong Ondoy, siya ay tropical storm noong dumaan  pero napakarami niyang dalang ulan. At noong panahong dumaan si Ondoy, mabagal ang pagkilos noong tumawid ito doon sa Central Luzon at panahon din noon ng habagat,” noted PAGASA weather specialist Arial Rojas.

(‘Ondoy’ was a tropical storm that carried immense amount of rain. Aside from moving very slowly over Central Luzon, it was also during the southwest monsoon season.)

Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary Renato Solidum of the agency’s Disaster Risk Reduction And Climate Change Adaptation Division said that what happened in Marikina City was a flash flood coming from the nearby mountain.

He said that perhaps the soil had been saturated from the previous typhoons prior to Typhoon Ulysses.

The soil could no longer hold the amount of water with the addition of heavy rains from Typhoon Ulysses hence the flash flood.

“Maliwanag naman na 250 to 300 mm of rain, so malaking baha na iyon kaya nga nagbigay ang PAGASA ng flash flood warning (Rains of about 250 to 350 mm could cause massive flooding that’s the reason why PAGASA issued flash flood warnings),” Solidum explained.

Also, the official believes that the physical structure of the river has changed in the past 11 years particularly its depth which could be due to siltation.

Magmula noong Ondoy hanggang ngayon palaging may pag-ulan na nangyayari sa Sierra Madre at ang nangyayari dito, iyong ilog ay bababaw nang bababaw dahil sa mga dinadalang sediments, mga putik o kaya silt o buhangin magmula sa kabundukan at paminsan may mga malalaki pang piraso kaya bababaw talaga yung ilog,” he noted.

(Since Ondoy and up to now, there has been regular occurrence of rainfall in the Sierra Madre [mountain ranges]. The sediments, mud and silt — even boulders at times — that stream down the mountain and into river have caused the riverbed to become shallow.)

Another factor, Solidum explained, was the construction of houses near the river banks which could have affected the waterway. The construction of concrete floorings may have limited the ability of the soil to absorb water.

The dwindling forest cover of nearby mountains is another issue that Solidum said needs to be checked based on the high turbidity level in Marikina River.

The high tide in Manila Bay could have also contributed to the rise in flood water, Soludim said.

Given these factors, Usec. Solidum advises the local government units and the public to always heed warnings and advisories of concerned agencies like PAGASA to be able to prepare appropriate measures prior to the onset of a calamity.

Pwedeng mag pre-emptive evacuation na kaagad para sa priority areas na babahain at yung mga delikado tulad ng mga matatanda, maysakit, bata, pregnant (They may conduct preemptive evacuation in priority areas that are flood-prone. They may evacuate first those who are vulnerable like the elderly, the sick, the children and pregnant women),” he said.

“Kung may maiiwan man sa mga bahay, sila na yung kailangang mag evacuate pag naabot na yung critical level (If they decide that somebody should stay, that person must have the capacity to evacuate once flood water reaches critical level),” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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