With homes still flooded, residents in Cagayan brace anew for ‘Sarah’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 20, 2019   •   243

Residents of Cagayan province remain restless after Typhoon Ramon made landfall in the area during the early hours of Wednesday (November 20).

Typhoon Ramon still brought heavy rainfall and strong winds which left several areas in the province submerged in flood. Among the villages affected are barangays Sta. Ana and Gonzaga.

READ: Tropical cyclones ‘Ramon’ and ‘Sarah’ barrel through parts of Cagayan

Merlinda Doblado is among the residents who had to stay awake to monitor the flood.

“Hindi na nga kami pinatulog kasi inaabangan namin iyong pagtaas ng tubig, kasi biglaan (We did not sleep because we were monitoring the flood, it went up too fast),” she said.

Evelyn, another resident recalled they had to cut their dinner short, they did not expect that the flood would increase that fast.

“Tumaas bigla iyong tubig, iniwan namin iyong pagkain diyan sa lamesa. Dali-dali naming binuhat iyong mga gamit at dinala sa mataas (The water suddenly rose, we left the food on the table and took our things upstairs),” she said.

Meanwhile, barangay chairman of Tapel, Gonzaga Danilo Domingo said they had to conduct another evacuation for the resident who already evacuated their homes due to the flood.

“Pagbalik ko dito sa may simbahan hanggang bewang na iyong baha kaya tumawag ako sa MDRRMO [Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office] for rescue nagpadala naman kaagad sila ng truck para i-rescue mga evacuees (When I returned to the church, the flood was already waist deep so I called the MDRRMO for rescue. They immediately sent a truck to rescue the evacuees),” he said.

Aside from homes, several rice fields in the area are also flooded. There are also roads and bridges that were closed to motorists due to landslides and the increase of water level in rivers.

Power cuts were also experienced in Sta. Ana, Gonzaga, Sta. Teresita, Sanchez Mira, Lallo, Appari, and Abulug.

According to the latest report of the Cagayan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), 2,824 families were evacuated.

The PDRRMO also said there were no reports of missing individuals or casualties during the storm. Some of the evacuated families were already allowed to return to their homes.

Marlene Campano and her family are among those who can return home. But she still fears for their safety, especially with another looming storm.

“Umuwi kami. Maawa nalang sa amin ang Panginoon, Dios na po ang bahala (We went home. We leave the rest to God, may God have mercy on us),” she said.

Authorities call on the residents to prepare for possible devastation as tropical depression Sarah intensifies into a tropical storm.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Rains may cause mudflow in areas affected by Taal’s volcanic activity

Marje Pelayo   •   January 13, 2020

A boy’s muddy feet is seen during an evacuation after a volcano eruption in Talisay, Batangas, Philippines, 13 January 2020. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as authorities in the Philippines raised the alert due to the increased activity of the Taal volcano, located in an island near Manila. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert level from 1 to 3 and then 4 – on a scale of 5, after an increase in the activity of the crater resulted in an eruption spewing steam and ash up to one-kilometer high. EPA-EFE/MARK R. CRISTINO

MANILA, Philippines – State weather bureau PAGASA is monitoring a Low Pressure Area (LPA) in the eastern part of Mindanao.

Based on PAGASA’s 4:00 AM update Monday (January 13), the LPA was spotted at 735 km East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur.

Meanwhile, parts of Northern Luzon are currently experiencing the effects of the tail end of a cold front which brings cloudy skies with scattered rains and thunderstorms in areas in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region,and Aurora.

Possible flash floods or landslides due to scattered light to moderate to at times heavy rains

Also, cloudy skies with scattered rains and thunderstorms will prevail over Caraga and Eastern Visayas as a result of the impact of the trough of the LPA.

This condition may cause possible flash floods or landslides due to scattered light to moderate to at times heavy rains.

Meanwhile, volcanic activity is currently affecting the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.

Hence, cloudy skies with isolated rains and thunderstorms may possibly reduced visibility and cause mudflow during ash fall and light to moderate rains.

Residents in the affected areas are advised to take extra caution and heed warnings from authorities.

In Ilocos Region, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains caused by the northeast monsoon will prevail.

This may cause intermittent strong winds especially in coastal and mountainous areas.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will also experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms.

Residents are urged to monitor for possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms especially in areas susceptible to these hazards.

AFP confident of strong security in Mindanao after martial law lapses

Robie de Guzman   •   December 31, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday expressed confidence that strong security is in place in Mindanao as the martial law in the region lapses on New Year’s eve.

“As martial law expires at 11:59 tonight, we are confident of an improved security climate in Mindanao that will work for the benefit of fellow Filipinos,” Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP Spokesperson, said in a statement.

“Specifically, where ML [martial law] was an issue, it is expected to boost economic activities due to added investors’ confidence,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he has decided not to extend the martial law in Mindanao following the assessment and recommendation of his security and defense officials on the situation in the region.

Mindanao has been under martial law since May 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days, but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and until December 31 of 2019.

Arevalo said that “while the Daesh-inspired local terrorist groups continue to decline, we urge local chief executives (LCEs) and their constituents to press on and build from the gains of ML to maintain the strong security posture now in place.”

He also appealed to local government officials to “continue their robust partnership with government security agencies.”

In the event that isolated incidents of violence and lawlessness erupt in Mindanao after martial law has ended, Arevalo said Proclamation No. 55 is still in effect in the region.

“Under such declaration, President Duterte has placed the entire Mindanao under a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence,” he said.

He also assured that the military will deploy its forces to curb any form of lawless violence “to prevent them from spreading and escalating not only in Mindanao but elsewhere in the Philippines.”

“[Our] fellow Filipinos can expect that the AFP will continue to push for the amendment of the Human Security Act especially with Senate President Vicente Sotto III assuring the passage of the new Anti-Terrorism Law,” he added.

65% of Filipinos say martial law in Mindanao should be lifted by end of 2019

Robie de Guzman   •   December 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The majority of Filipinos believe that martial law in Mindanao should be lifted by the end of the year, based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

In the survey released on Sunday (December 29), the SWS found that 65 percent of Filipinos said that the martial law in the Mindanao region should not go beyond 2019 while 34 percent said it should be extended.

One percent did not provide an answer to the question, “In your opinion, should martial law in Mindanao lapse at end-2019, or be extended for a longer period?”

The SWS said the nationwide survey was conducted from December 13 to 16 by interviewing 1,200 Filipino adult respondents – 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The pollster said that of the 34 percent who support the extension of martial law beyond 2019, 22 percent said it should be extended in the entire Mindanao, 7 percent said it should be extended in Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur, and 5 percent say it should be extended in Marawi City, the province of Lanao del Sur, and nearby provinces.

The proportion of those who call for the termination of Martial Law in Mindanao by end-2019 is high in all areas: it is 67% in Metro Manila, 67% in the Visayas, 66% in Balance Luzon, and 61% in Mindanao, the SWS added.

In the December 2019 survey, respondents were also asked about their opinion regarding the statement, “At present, there is no more threat that another Marawi-like terrorist attack can happen anywhere in Mindanao.”

To this, 49 percent agreed, and 16 percent disagreed while 35 percent were undecided about the matter.

The SWS said this gives a net agreement score of +33, classified as very strong.

The SWS terminology for Net Agreement: +50 and above, “Extremely Strong”; +30 to +49, “Very Strong”; +10 to +29, “Moderately Strong”, +9 to -9, “Neutral”; -10 to -29, “Moderately Weak”; -30 to -49, “Very Weak”; -50 and below, “Extremely Weak”.

Survey respondents were also asked about their opinion on this statement, “From the time that Martial Law was declared in Mindanao, up to the present, the military has committed very few, if any, abuses of human rights in Mindanao?”

Fifty-five percent agreed, 14 percent disagreed while 32 percent were undecided.

This gives a very strong net agreement score of +41, the SWS said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days, but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018, and until December 31 of 2019.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier decided he will not be extending martial law in Mindanao following the recommendation and assessment of his security and defense advisers on the situation in the region. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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