State of calamity: Evacuees from Barangay Malanday take shelter at a covered court in Marikina City yesterday. The city government has declared Marikina under a state of calamity due to floods brought about by continued rains.
Walter Bollozos
7 dead, 5 missing as rains continue over Luzon
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The southwest monsoon, enhanced by Tropical Depression Josie, will continue to bring rains in large areas of Luzon, including Metro Manila, until today, when President Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address.

The cities of Marikina, Malabon and Valenzuela in Metro Manila and several local government units in Central Luzon, including Bataan; Balagtas, Bocaue, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Marilao, Meycauayan, Obando and Paombong, Bulacan; Olongapo City and Subic, Zambales; and Angeles City and Masantol, Pampanga have suspended classes for today due to inclement weather.

Incessant rains inundated several areas in Metro Manila, Bataan and Zambales yesterday, leaving many roads impassable to light vehicles.

Marikina City, Balanga City and Dinalupihan in Bataan, Cavite, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija were placed under a state of calamity due to severe flooding.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said scattered to widespread monsoon rains would persist over Metro Manila, Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and Western Visayas.

“Residents of these areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslide,” PAGASA said in an advisory.

Josie slightly weakened as it moves toward Southern Ryukyu, Japan yesterday afternoon. It was expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility last night or this morning.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, PAGASA lifted tropical cyclone warning signal No. 1 over Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands.

PAGASA said sea travel remains risky over the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Josie was spotted at 330 kilometers northeast of Basco, Batanes, packing winds of 55 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph.

It was forecast to move north-northeast at 25 kph.

Josie is the 10th tropical cyclone to enter the country this year and the fourth this month.

The southwest monsoon, which was strengthened by successive cyclones, has been dumping rains in many parts of Luzon in the past several weeks, forcing the cancelation of classes and work in government offices, and the evacuation of several residents in affected areas.

Josie came days after severe tropical storm Inday inundated large sections of Luzon.

At least four persons died while five went missing during Josie’s onslaught in northern Luzon over the weekend.

John Jonard Galleros, 12, and his brother Joseph Galleros, 11, died while sleeping after their house was buried by a landslide brought by continuous rains in Barangay San Francisco in Agoo, La Union at dawn last Friday.

Later that day, security guard Lito Lacuna and boat helper Romel Caalim reportedly drowned in Itogon, Benguet and Gattaran, Cagayan respectively.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said Lacuna was walking on his way to work when he was carried by cascading floodwaters at Camp 5.

Caalim, on the other hand, was washed away to the sea after strong waves caught him while walking home from a drinking spree during high tide in Bolos Point, Gattaran.

In Mangatarem, Pangasinan, a woman drowned while trying to cross a creek amid inclement weather brought about by the enhanced southwest monsoon.

Based on a situational report by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) at 11 a.m. yesterday, the woman was identified as Ailene Isidro Sison, 20, of Barangay Bedania. Her body was recovered last Saturday afternoon.

Sison reportedly tried to cross a creek Friday night and had gone missing until her body was found floating.

Meanwhile, authorities are searching for fishermen Bunso Vergara, 44; Minandro Caasi, 37; Ranillo Campana, 32; Yvin Lopez, 27; and Jerrick Caasi, 22 – all residents of Barangay Concordia in Bolinao, Pangasinan – who were reported missing off the coast of Ilocos Sur.

Office of Civil Defense – Ilocos Region spokesman Mike Sabado said the fishermen ventured into the sea aboard motorized boat marked Danielle Maecee from their village in Bolinao despite the rough seas on Saturday and failed to come home.

The five fishermen were about to return when their boat was apparently smashed by big waves brought by Tropical Storm Inday, causing it to capsize and sink, according to a report by the Bolinao Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to the PDRRMO.

It added that the last communication of the fishermen said they were about 11 nautical miles west of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur.

Local authorities in Bolinao have already coordinated with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the local police as well as in nearby coastal towns, particularly in Narvacan, while a search and rescue operation is being conducted.

Several barangays in 17 towns – Mangatarem, Calasiao, Santa Barbara, Lingayen, Bugallon, Malasiqui, Agno, Natividad, Dasol, Bayambang, Bautista, Bolinao, Infanta, Urbiztondo, Manaoag, Rosales and Aguilar – and four cities – Dagupan, Alaminos, Urdaneta and San Carlos – in Pangasinan were still underwater yesterday due to incessant rains, according to the PDRRMO.

It also reported that floodwaters in some barangays in the towns of Bani, Labrador and Mabini have subsided.

Dagupan, San Carlos, Mangatarem, Bugallon, Santa Barbara and Lingayen have been placed under state of calamity, the PDRRMO said.

2 killed in Antique landslide

In Barbaza, Antique, two children were killed in a landslide before dawn yesterday.

The incident occurred as the Agapito family were in deep slumber around 3 a.m. at their home in Barangay Binanu-an, located three kilometers from the town proper.

It claimed the lives of Rosalia Agapito, 6, and her brother Andrew, 3. Their mother Tessie, 48, suffered minor injuries.

Barbaza Police chief Senior Inspector Horizon Villanueva said the victims’ father was unable to come home the night before the incident due to heavy rains and instead spent the night at a relative’s house in nearby Barangay Bahuyan.

For several days before the incident, Villanueva noted sporadic heavy rains, which might have led to soil erosion.

Early morning yesterday, neighbors claimed that soil from the mountainous portion of Binanu-an eroded and destroyed the family’s house, which was made of light materials, then pushed it into a shallow ravine. – With Raymund Catindig, Jen Ponsaran, Cesar Ramirez, Jun Elias, Non Alquitran, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Louise Maureen Simeon, Rainier Allan Ronda

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