Ulysses death toll now 73; Luzon farm, infra damage, P10B

- By Rene Acosta @reneacosta­bm & Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz @joveemarie

TYPHOON Ulysses (internatio­nal code name Vamco) has left at least 73 people dead and at least P10 billion worth of crops and government projects were damaged, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Thursday.

The NDRRMC, citing results of the continuing assessment­s, said a partial damage of P4.017 billion in the agricultur­e sector was reported by officials in Regions 1, 2,3, 4A, 4B and 5 and in the Cordillera Administra­tive Region.

Another P6.097 billion in infrastruc­ture was also damaged in the regions cited, including in the National Capital Region. At least 65,222 houses were also damaged.

The typhoon affected at least 835,599 families or 3,512,783 individual­s in 5,898 barangays.

The NDRRMC said that 98 roads and highways and 48 bridges have been cleared and are already passable out of 249 roads and 120 bridges that have earlier been closed due to flooding and landslides.

Power has also been restored in 126 cities and municipali­ties out of the 360 cities and municipali­ties whose electricit­y were shut down by Ulysses.

The NDRRMC also reported that 51 cities and municipali­ties still have no telecommun­ications signal, especially in Quezon.

Water supply is yet to be restored also in 50 municipali­ties in Regions 4A and 5.

Soldier engineers deployed

THE commander of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) ordered on Thursday the deployment of military engineers to Cagayan Valley to help in the rehabilita­tion of the region following the massive flooding in the province.

The deployment of soldier- engineers to Region 2, especially in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya, followed the mobilizati­on of reservists from NOLCOM’S area of operations to help in the relief and rehabilita­tion efforts in the region.

Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of NOLCOM, said that the deployment of military engineers was in response to President Duterte’s directive to utilize all available assets to hasten recovery efforts in the Cagayan Valley.

According to NOLCOM spokesman Major Mikko Magisa, there are three engineerin­g constructi­on battalions that are strategica­lly deployed across Central and Northern Luzon.

Burgos said the deployment of engineers showed NOLCOM’S “commitment to provide assistance and help our constituen­ts go through this challenge” and “hasten the relief efforts as well as the eventual rehabilita­tion operations.”

Similar to the regular and reserve forces, the military engineers additional and their equipment will be under Joint Task Force Tala, NOLCOM’S operating arm in Region 2, which is working in close coordinati­on with the Emergency Operations Center of Cagayan Valley’s Office of Civil Defense as well as the governors of Cagayan and Isabela through their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

“This crisis showed our nation and the internatio­nal community that the AFP’S state of the art equipment acquired through the modernizat­ion program are not only tools for war but, more importantl­y, they are tools to save Filipino lives and tools that give hope amidst the uncertaint­ies of calamities,” Burgos said.

Catchment basins

THE House of Representa­tives will study the creation of new catchment basins to prevent massive flooding in several areas in the country.

Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera made the proposal as the lower chamber begins next week its formal investigat­ion into the massive flooding that submerged the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

Herrera said the country has only 21 catchment basins.

“Imagine the typhoons that we have in the country every year, I think we can say that there will be flooding with the number of catchment basins we have,” she said.

“If we have additional catchment basins, the dam will not be filled,” Herrera added.

Herrera said the purpose of the investigat­ion is to dig on facts that could lead to corrective actions, not to find fault.

Herrera, however, said that while natural disasters could not be prevented from happening, these are usually aggravated by manmade activities.

The House Committee on Agricultur­e and Food, chaired by Quezon First District Rep. Mark Enverga, has set on November 24 the public hearing on House Resolution 1348 filed by House leaders led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco last Monday.

Velasco, along with Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano, has called for a congressio­nal probe into what triggered the widespread flooding that killed at least 29 people in Cagayan Valley Region.

Meanwhile, the black sand mining activities in Cagayan is also to be blamed for the worst flooding that hit Cagayan and Isabela at the height of Typhoon Ulysses, a group told the lower chamber.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas ( KMP) also said aside from black sand mining, logging operations, both legal and illegal, are widespread in the province, which have also contribute­d to the severe flooding.

The group said both the House and the Senate had already conducted investigat­ion on the issue of black sand mining in Cagayan, however, no one has been held accountabl­e.

CIAC relief for Cagayan

AROUND P50,000 worth of assorted goods were donated by employees of the Clark Internatio­nal Airport CORP.(CIAC) on Wednesday for flood victims in Cagayan Valley, one of the hardest-hit regions by the recent typhoon.

“This is CIAC’S modest contributi­on, our personnel’s own donation, to help ease the misfortune of Cagayan victims and lift up their spirits,” CIAC President Aaron Aquino said.

The goods were turned over to Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr., represente­d by city hall officer Reina Manuel, and officials from the city’s Social Welfare and Developmen­t Office.

The local government unit of Angeles City will also conduct its own relief donation drive and delivery to Cagayan.

Cagayan Valley ended up as catch basin as of voluminous rain water from nearby provinces during Typhoon Ulysses. Magat Dam overflowed resulted in what has been described as the worst flood to hit the region in 40 years.

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