Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pres. Aquino satisfied with gov't response to Typhoon 'Lando'

President Benigno S. Aquino III has expressed satisfaction with the government’s response to Typhoon Lando, which has battered northern Luzon and has affected 283,486 people.

“The government, I think has responded to all. Casualties, so far, hopefully will not climb. But again, we will not take any chance and we will try to ensure that we are on the side of being conservative and making sure that everybody is protected during this time,” President Aquino said on Monday after visiting families affected by the typhoon at the Nueva Ecija National High School in Cabanatuan City.

The school was transformed into an evacuation center where 204 families from 11 barangays have been staying since Sunday.

“We are still collating all of the data. There are areas we have no communication and no electricity but there are less and less areas that are somewhat isolated. Cabanatuan, in fact, was part of the list of those isolated, that is why we are here,” said the President, who also had a meeting with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Health Secretary Janette Garin, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, and Department of Social Welfare and Development Region 3 officials after the distribution of relief goods.

President Aquino noted that while preparations have been undertaken by the national government, the challenge was in dealing with the “lingering typhoon” that has left many areas flooded and without electricity.

“Basically, the challenge here is that you have a lingering typhoon as opposed to just crossing our land mass in a matter of a few hours. The expectation for the effects of this particular typhoon are about three days long,” said the Chief Executive, who distributed relief goods consisting of food packs, each containing six kilos of rice, canned goods and 3-in-1 coffee, as well as family kits, each of which was made up of a kawali, a ladle, cups, plates, plastic mats, a blanket and a mosquito net.

President Aquino also warned residents to remain at evacuation centers until such time when it is safe to return to their communities.

“There is something like 800 barangays in several provinces that are deemed to be susceptible to the effects of rainwater coming down from further up north. Now, the challenge with a lot of our countrymen ‎is that, they don't seem to see the amount of rain it is pouring. They think it is safe already to go back to their communities but we are preventing them right now because the expectations from tonight and until tomorrow, a lot of this rainfall that fell on the northern portion of Luzon will be coming down and will be affecting all of these barangays near the major river systems,” he explained.

“The various electric cooperatives are checking their lines right now to ensure that by the time they re-energize, then there is no threat of electrocution for ‎any of the communities. But still the disturbance is still with us. It has not exited the land mass at this point in time. It has veered northeast so it really will affect a lot of these areas in Region 1 and the Cordillera area, and that is what we are trying to gear up for. And of course, we want to prevent any spread of a disease, leptospirosis is considered a threat, especially the way through the floodwaters,” the President added.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has estimated Typhoon Lando to stay in the Philippine Area of Responsibility until Saturday.

The PAGASA bulletin issued at 11 a.m. on Tuesday said Typhoon Lando has weakened into a tropical storm and was moving slowly towards Calayan and the Babuyan Islands.

The storm was located 125 kilometers (km) west of Calayan, Cagayan, with maximum sustained winds of 85 km per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph. It was forecast to move northeast at 4 kph.

Public Storm Warning Signal No. 2 has been hoisted over Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Apayao, Abra, Batanes and Northern Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Islands, which will have stormy weather, while occasional rains and gusty winds will be experienced over La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Kalinga, Isabela and the rest of Cagayan, which are under Signal No. 1.

Elsewhere, the storm warning signal has been lowered. (PCOO News Release)

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