PBBM visits flood-hit area, vows aid, housing to victims

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed the National Housing Authority (NHA) to find a resettlement area for Misamis Occidental residents whose houses were destroyed by the recent flooding.

HEAVY FLOODING. This handout photo taken on January 11, 2023 and received from Jipapad Mayor Benjamin Ver shows residents crossing through a flooded road in Jipapad town, Eastern Samar province. (Inset, lower right) In Zamboanga City, members of the Philippine Coast Guard use a plastic basin to rescue children. (Inset, lower left) President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the distribution of financial help to fishermen affected by heavy rains in Misamis Occidental. AFP / Mayor Benjamin Ver, Philippine Coast Guard

“We are coordinating with the National Housing Authority. The houses that were totally destroyed, we will look for their resettlement area so they could have a place to live,” President Marcos said during the distribution of government assistance at The Working Congressman Sports Complex in the Municipality of Tudela.

“So, that will be our task,” Mr. Marcos said.

Once a relocation area is identified, the government will send rebuilding materials so people can start constructing new homes, he said.

The President also sought to improve flood-control structures, which serve as the first line of defense against floods and overflowing rivers.

The President assured the residents of Misamis Occidental that the government would continue providing assistance such as relief, potable water, clothing, and temporary shelter for the evacuees.

Local officials said more than 16,000 families were affected by the flooding.

In some areas in Eastern Visayas, roof-level floods prompted authorities in Tacloban City to evacuate residents on Wednesday.

The Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas (PRO 8) said a total of 357 centers were already established across the region, taking care of 2,767 families or 11,158 individuals, as of noon Wednesday.

There were 168 areas that were flooded—102 of them without electricity.

On Tuesday, a 34-year-old army personnel drowned after he and his companion onboard a motorcycle were carried away by a strong current that overflowed the concrete bridge while monitoring the area along Barangay Happy Village in San Isidro, Northern Samar.

The victim was identified as Corporal Jerry Palacio, a resident of Mondragon, Northern Samar and an active member of the 43rd Infantry Battalion.

In Maydolong, Eastern Samar, a victim, identified as Winefreda Grafil, was found dead after the boat she was riding towards Sitio Bagong Barrio from Barangay Pinanag-an, Borongan City capsized due to a strong current brought by heavy rainfall on Tuesday.

Another passenger, identified as Carlito Dagumay, remained missing as of Wednesday.

In Basey, Samar, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) head and Mayor Luz Ponferrada passed a resolution to the Sangguniang Bayan recommending that the Municipality of Basey be placed under a state of calamity due to severe flooding in many barangays.

In the photos he shared on social media, Basey municipal councilor Vic Labuac said the local government brought a power generator and provided free Wi-Fi to help affected residents at the Barangay Mabini evacuation center.

Severe flooding along national highways was also recorded in Sta. Rita, Samar.

Northern Samar Gov. Edwin Ongchuan announced the suspension of classes at all levels in the province on Tuesday, Jan. 10, due to heavy rains and floods.

Authorities in Mondragon, Northern Samar, headed by Mayor Lerma Madera also launched a joint monitoring, rescue, and relief response for the affected residents in the town.

The local government unit suspended work in government offices and classes at all levels on Wednesday.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone issued an executive order suspending work in government offices and classes at all levels from Jan. 11 to 12.

“I called on the Department of Agriculture to provide certified rice seeds for the farmers because almost all the crops here in Eastern Samar were damaged due to severe floods,” Evardone said. With AFP

In a statement, he also called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to deliver food packs for the flood victims, particularly the 12,101 people in evacuation centers.

Heavy flooding was reported in Arteche, Jipapad, Maydolong, and Oras, among other areas in Eastern Samar.

Meanwhile, DSWD-Eastern Visayas said 1,720 family food packs that were positioned ahead of time in the Jipapad municipality were distributed to the affected residents in the town.

Severe flooding closed several roads, including the Wright-Taft-Borongan Road, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Eastern Samar District Office said.

It said 23 areas had impassable road conditions.

In Southern Leyte, a landslide due to heavy rain occurred along the provincial road of Barangay Looc, San Ricardo.

In Tacloban City, Mayor Alfred Romualdez ordered the deployment of government trucks to go around the city’s thoroughfares and pick up stranded people who were trying to get a ride home on Tuesday.

Earlier, local volunteers of the “Angels on Wheels” car group organized private owners of pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles to offer free rides for stranded passengers going to northern barangays in Tacloban following heavy rains and flooding since Monday evening.

On Wednesday, local chief executives ordered the class suspension in Calbayog City, Sta. Rita, and Pagsanghan, among other Samar towns.

In Leyte, classes were also suspended in Babatngon, Alang-alang, Burauen, Tanauan.

In Biliran, class suspensions were in Naval, Caibiran, Maripipi, Almeria, Kawayan, Cabucgayan, and Culaba.

However, no flights were suspended on Wednesday.

At least 10 people have died due to bad weather across the country in the past week, with more heavy rain expected in already sodden regions of the disaster-prone country, authorities said Wednesday.

Bad weather has plagued the country’s southern and central islands since the Christmas weekend when downpours triggered flooding and landslides that left 52 people dead and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

Since Jan. 2, back-to-back low pressure areas have killed 10 people as floodwaters swept through houses, cut roads and swamped crops, the civil defense office said.

It initially listed 11 fatalities and later removed one death from Capiz after verifying that it was due to a localized thunderstorm on Dec. 31, 2022.

The state weather forecaster warned Tuesday of “serious flooding” in low-lying areas and landslides in the mountains of the central island of Samar.

Heavy rain has already inundated villages, with water levels reaching three meters in some places.

So far, one person was missing and more than 2,200 people had been evacuated from their homes, said Josh Echano, Northern Samar provincial disaster officer.

The number of evacuees was expected to rise.

“The flood is progressing since yesterday, it’s not subsiding,” Echano said.

“This could be fatal. This could be one of the worst (floods).”

The Philippines is ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change, and scientists have warned that storms are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer. With AFP

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