No. 227 /  October 1-15, 2009
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Typhoon Pepeng's aftermath
28 Ecija towns/cities
hit by flood

Photo by Micheal V. Valentos

The Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) identified Nueva Ecija as the province in Central Luzon that experienced the most widespread flooding from rains brought by typhoon Pepeng.

As of October 11, the RDCC said that 28 out of the province's 32 towns and cities were affected by flood.

Although flooding in Nueva Ecija was not as deep as in adjacent La Paz, Tarlac, it was extensive, with the deepest flood reported in Cuyapo, adjacent to Pangasinan and also affected by the release of water from San Roque Dam.

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali said that the provincial government immediately conducted rescue and relief operations, and fanned out teams on rubber boats and dump trucks to search for affected residents in 144 barangays hit by flood.

He said that the most affected barangays were in Cuyapo, Aliaga, Guimba, Licab, Quezon, Santo Domingo, Talavera, Zaragoza, Santa Rosa, Jaen, San Antonio, San Isidro, Cabiao, Rizal and Bongabon and the cities of Cabanatuan, Muñoz, Gapan and Palayan.

Umali had suspended classes in all levels last October 8 and 9, fearing that the floods could worsen due to the release of water from Pantabangan Dam.

Eng. Antonio s. Nangel, operations manager of the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) said that as October 9, the water level of the dam was at 220.64 meters, just inches away from then spilling level of 221 meters.  Excess water was released at 700 cubic meters per second. 

The governor said that the evacuees reached by  the provincial government's mobile kitchens were fed and given relief goods. He said that some 180,000 residents were evacuated.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Philippine National Red Cross, said that four rubber boats were sent to Nueva Ecija to help in the rescue efforts.

The highways at the boundaries of Zaragoza and La Paz, Tarlac; Rizal town and Aurora; and Licab and Victoria, Tarlac were impassable.

The floods also affected traffic going to Pangasinan from San Jose City and Cuyapo.

Mudslides again closed a portion of the highway in Carranglan leading to Nueva Vizcaya.

Sr. Insp. Reuben  Garcia, Carranglan police chief, reported that landslides happened between kilometer posts 192 and 193 in Barangays Puncan and Digdig.

The Department of Public Works and Highways First Engineering District headed by Eng. Ramiro Cruz stationed one back hoe, one grader, one pay loader and two dump trucks to clear the area.

Meanwhile Dr. Abraham A. Pascua, provincial interior and local government officer and co-chair of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, said that they were still consolidating reports on damage to property, infrastructure and agriculture from the affected areas.

He said that partial and unofficial reports showed 41,730.92 hectares of palay were destroyed by floods, with most of the crop in the reproductive stage. ###

Flooding in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon as of 7:00 AM, October 11.

Courtesy of RDCC Region 3.


Ecija suffers massive rice loss

Some 44,233 hectares of palay crop in Nueva Ecija went underwater when floods hit the province due to continuous rains from typhoon Pepeng.

Serafin Santos, provincial agriculturist, said that 28,786 hectares of palay crops had no chance of recovery. Losses could reach 2.302 million cavans.

On the other hand, the other rice lands with chances of recovery could expected a harvest reduction of 20 to 40 percent.

Santos said that the estimated losses in rice harvest could reach P1.5 billion, with the province missing its targeted rice harvest of 750,000 metric tons.

The total number of rice lands submerged is expected to go up as six other towns and one city had not sent damage reports.

In Santa Rosa, Quezon, Aliaga and Licab, chest deep water covered rice lands.

Bernardo Valdez, head of the operations division of the provincial agriculturist's office, said that all that they saw in the flooded rice lands were water lilies. ###

NIA: Blame heavy rains, not the dam, for floods

It was the unusually heavy rainfall brought by typhoon Pepeng that caused waterways to overflow -- not the release of excess water from Pantabangan Dam.

A bulletin released by NIA-UPRIIS that operates Pantabangan Dam said that as of October 9, the dam's elevation was 220.63 meters, just .36 meters away from its 221 automatic spilling level.

Operations Manager Antonio S. Nangel said that the excess water from the dam was released to the Murcon, Vaca and Pampanga Rivers.

A week earlier, last October 1,  excess water was released from the dam in anticipation of the heavy rains from typhoon Pepeng. The dam's water elevation then was 219.5 meters.

Nangel sid that the water release was stopped last at noon last October 3, to avoid adding to the volume of run-off rain water in low-lying areas.

Gov. Aurelio Umali ordered the suspension of classes in elementary and high schools on October 1 and 2 to allow residents to prepare for typhoon Pepeng.

Classes in the tertiary level were suspended by the Commission on Higher Education as early as October 1, following the inclusion of Nueva Ecija in the list of calamity areas affected by typhoon Ondoy, declared by the National Disaster Coordinating Council. ###

Pantabangan Dam stops water release after Pampanga congressman's appeal

Irrigation officials closed the spillway gates of Pantabangan Dam last October 11 following an appeal from Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc to allow floods to subside in areas hit by typhoon Pepeng in Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.

Dam officials had earlier said that it was necessary to gradually release excess water before, during and after typhoon Pepeng because it would be more dangerous if the dam water were to reach an uncontrollable level.

Eng. Antonio S. Nangel, NIA-UPRIIS operations manager said that they first asked for the advice of Gov. Aurelio M. Umali and the heads of PAGASA, Regional Disaster Coordinating Council and the Casecnan Dam and power plant before acceding to Bondoc's request. ###

Jaen barangay submerged

Barangay Pamacpacan in Jaen town was still submerged in knee to chest deep floodwater as of October 10, while the rest of the province slowly recovered from the extensive flooding.

It was reported that all houses in Pamacpacan were under water, with many residents stranded on rooftops.

Remy Sanchez climbed to the roof of her house when the flood water started to rise last October 9.

Dito na ako natutulog, lubog ang buong bahay,” Sanchez said.

Rescue operations continued but many residents opted to stay home hoping that the flood would subside soon.

About 20,000 hectares of rice fields in the barangay were damaged.

In adjacent San Antonio town, Gov. Aurelio Umali said that relief goods were distributed to 700 households in Barangay Panabingan.

He said that Quezon City Judge Ralph Lee joined the rescue team in Panabingan. During typhoon Ondoy, the judge saved many residents of Santa Monica, Novaliches with the use of his jet ski and rubber boats. ###

Pepeng's death toll: two dead, one missing

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) reported that one woman died of heart attack, while another was electrocuted due to typhoon Pepeng. One  man was reported missing.

Dr. Abraham Pascua, provincial interior and local government officer and PDCC co-chair, identified one fatality as Analie Santua, 45 of Barangay Estrella, Rizal. She died reportedly of heart attack after she was taken to an evacuation center in the town.

The other victim was Jennifer de Guzman of Barangay Putlod, Jaen who was electrocuted inside her house.

Reported missing and feared dead was Loreto Gallardo of Pantabangan. ###

Umali appeals for help

Gov. Aurelio M Umali appealed to Filipinos, particularly those working and living overseas, to send their donations to the provincial capitol or to ABS-CBN.

He also gave his personal cell phone number  -- 0918-905-9698 -- so those who want to know the status of their families in Nueva Ecija can text.

”Kindly text me so that I can direct yung pong aming records or sa mga barangays that you want to know kung ano po ang sitwasyon so that I can give you more or less an accurate information doon po sa mga lugar,” he said. ###

PGMA commends Ecija PDCC

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo praised the efficient and effective action of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) that resulted in minimal damage from typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali said that the President commended the PDCC and concerned government agencies for effectively implementing disaster preparedness management.

The President went to Nueva Ecija last October 4 to meet with the members of the PDCC about plans and preparations for calamities.

She assured that the national government will extend support to farmers whose crops were destroyed by the calamity.

Initial reports received by the PDCC said that P307 million worth of crops were damaged. Some 426 hectares of vegetable farms were affected, costing P6.9 million.

Llanera town was among the hardest hit with damage costing P73.3 million, representing 2,576 hectares of rice lands submerged in knee-deep waters.

The other affected towns with massive crop damage are Santo. Domingo, P70-million; Licab, P49-million; Carranglan, P43.1-million, and Nampicuan, P43-million

Heavy crop damages were also reported in Aliaga, Bongabon, Cuyapo, Gen. Natividad, Gen. Tinio, Guimba, Jaen, Laur, Licab, Pantabangan, Peñaranda, Quezon, Rizal, San Antonio, San Isidro, San Leonardo, Santa Rosa, Santo Domingo, Talavera, Talugtug and Zaragoza, and the cities of Cabanatuan, Gapan, Muñoz and Palayan. ###

PGMA visits Gabaldon

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo distributes cash cards to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); together with Gabaldon Mayor Dominador Mandia and DSWD Regional Director Minda Brigoli. The program is a poverty reduction strategy that provides grants to extremely poor households with children aged 0-14 to improve their health, nutrition and education at the Gabaldon Plaza in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija last October 4.


Gov proposes expansion of POC for campaign vs. building along waterways

Gov. Aurelio Umali is pushing for the expansion of the membership of the Peace and Order Council to address the building of houses along waterways.

Umali made the proposal in the light of the evacuation of hundreds of people in low lying areas to escape the flooding brought by the continuous rains from typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

Umali said aside from the current POC members that include the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office (NEPPO), Philippine Army (PA) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the council should also involve the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and other agencies.

He said that local government units should also be asked to exercise political will to address the problem of building houses along rivers, creeks and irrigation canals.

Umali said that the POC, which is primarily concerned with the maintenance of peace and order, is intertwined with the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC).

He also asked for updates on the geo-hazard report on several areas in Nueva Ecija to guide local government units in land use and development planning. ###

DTI continues to monitor prices of basic goods

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) office in Nueva Ecija continues to monitor the prices of basic commodities after the province was declared a calamity area.

Brigida Pili, DTI provincial director, said that three local businessmen have been charged with violating the Price Tag Law, while some 32 vendors were caught with defective weighing scales.

Pili assured local consumers that the prices of basic commodities continue to be stable. She said that her office had conferred with dealers of construction materials to assure that they comply with the proper pricing of their products. ###

Girl slips down a creek, drowns

A five year old girl slipped down a creek and drowned while walking with his mother and sibling last October 5 in Barangay D.S. Garcia, Cabanatuan City.

Supt. Efren Ramos, city police chief, identified the victim as Alma May Milan Francisco of Purok Alitaptap, Barangay D.S. Garcia.

At about 5:00 PM, the girl, her mother and a sibling were walking along the Sapang Buhay Creek when the victim slipped and fell into the waterway where she was swept by the swift current.

It took one hour before the girl's body was retrieved. ###

Jeep rams 7 block rosary participants

Seven block rosary participants died when they were rammed by a jeep which had been bumped by a Mitsubishi Adventure on the night of October 4 along the Lupao-San Jose Road in Barangay Santo Niño 1st, San Jose City.

Supt. Sidney Villaflor, city police chief, identified the victims as Valerian Pregillana, 68; Evelyn Macalinao; Ronald Paroche; Kimberly Deramayo, 13; Erlinda Paroche, 61; Marites Bustamante, 50 and Helen Fontanilla, all residents Santo Niño 1st.

Investigation showed that at about 7:30 PM, the Mitsubishi Adventure driven by Don Davy Evangelista Aquino, 51, of Zone 4, Barangay Santo Niño 2nd, bumped the jeep owned by Luis Agustin Avanzano of Barangay Porais, which at the time was being parked.

The impact pushed the jeep hurtling towards the victims which at the time were holding a block rosary procession.

The victims were taken to the San Jose General Hospital for treatment and were later declared out of danger. ###

Man stabs cousin dead

A 21 year old man stabbed his cousin dead after he caught him raping his live in partner in Sitio Garcia, Barangay Santo Cristo Norte, Gapan City last September 30.

The fatality was identified as Alvin Genete Garcia, 21, single, of Sitio Lupang Pangarap, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan City.

Investigation by PO3 Gregorio Peñamante, Jr. showed that Garcia visited his cousin  Anthony Garcia Manapat and the two had a drinking session. At about midnight, Manapat went out of the house to catch fish and frogs to cook as their appetizers. Upon returning home, he saw Garcia raping his live in partner. The suspect repeatedly stabbed the victim and then fled. ###


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