Friday, July 23, 2010

State of Calamity declared in 12 Batangas towns

Batangas city – The Batangas provincial board had placed 12 towns of Batangas under a state of calamity on July 21 due to the damages brought by typhoon Basyang.
     The municipalities covered by the declaration were Balayan, Calaca, Calatagan, Lemery, Lian, Nasugbu, Tuy, Agoncillo, Balete, Laurel, Sta. Teresita and Talisay.
     Batangas Vice Gov. Mark Leviste said that the declaration will allow the provincial government to spend around P5 million of its calamity fund for rehabilitating areas affected by the typhoon.
     Under the local government code or Republic Act 7160, local governments are authorized to declare a state of calamity to allow utilization of its calamity fund, which comprises about five percent of their local budget.
     The funds are usually allocated in providing relief or rescue.
     Republic Act 8185, which ammended certain provisions in the code, defined a state of calamity as “a state of extreme distress or misfortune, produced by some adverse circumstances or event or any great misfortune or cause or loss or misery caused by natural forces.”
     On July 18, the provincial disaster coordinating council (PDCC) reported that the typhoon had already left initial damages worth P161.44 million in Batangas.
     Of the said figure, the province’s infrastructure had the heaviest damage pegged at P102.4 million, followed by agriculture (P58.6 million), and livestock (P445,500).
     Batangas Civil Defense Chief Pedrito Dijan, Jr. said that the typhoon had damaged at least 1,561 houses, 133 of them were totally wrecked.
    Some major bridges like the P10 million worth Sinisian bridge, which connects Calaca and Lemery towns, were also damaged by the typhoon. The storm damaged the bridge’s 10 meter approach and wingwall, making it impassable to heavy vehicles to date.
      Dijan said that the typhoon also destroyed 92.05 hectares of corn plantations, 29.75 has. of ampalaya (bittergourd) farms, 12 has. of banana, 2.25 has. of tomato farm, and some other fruits vegetable farms in Balete, Malvar and Talisay towns amounting to P14 million.
     The typhoon also destroyed 87 fish cages in Talisay town and a still undetermined number of cages in San Nicolas, damaging about P45.2 million worth of tilapia and bangus stocks.
     Most of the said stocks were already in their harvestable size. It takes about six months to grow tilapia in fishcages in the Taal Lake.
     In its July 18 report, the PDCC said that the typhoon left three people dead, two injured and six others missing from the typhoon.
    Dijan, identified the fatalities as Marcelina Bathan, 47, resident of Sta. Maria village in Laurel; sisters Daisy Nicolas, 12, and Darenz Nicolas, 4, of Bugaan West village in same town; Mhyx Elipongga, 1 year and 8 months old of Balibago village in Lian and Ronald Argente, 27, of Matabungkay village in said town.
     The PDCC said that Bathan died of electrocution, while the Nicolas sisters died when a mango tree fell on their house. Elipongga meanwhile was drowned after she fell on a nearby creek, while Argente was drowned as he tried to save his cow from the flood waters.
    Dijan said 65-year-old Renato Tan of Kaylaway village in Nasugbu town was injured after a tree fell on him, while 48-year-old Liwayway Sarmiento of Bilibinwang village in Agoncillo injured her legs on a landslide.
     As of July 18, elements of the police and the Philippine Coast Guard are still looking for six missing victims identified as Natalio Gravantes, 38; Jessie Regencia, 21; Julie Regencia, 21; Aldrich Yuldi, 2, Prescilla Yuldi, 35, all residents of Laurel town.
     Seventy-two year old Benjamin Ventura was also missing after floods swept his house beside a creek in the village of Banga, Talisay town.
     Typhoon Basyang, with an international name of Conson, was the first tropical cyclone to reach the Philippine mainland.
     Packed with strong winds of 120 kilometers per hour, the typhoon wrecked havoc on the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) and Bicol regions, affecting a population of about 241,651 persons in 88 municipalities of 12 provinces. ( Marlon Alexander S. Luistro)

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