3 dead, thousands evacuated

Non Alquitran, Romina Cabrera - The Philippine Star
3 dead, thousands evacuated
Residents flee to higher ground as floodwaters inundate Barangay Malanday in Marikina on Saturday night.
Walter Bollozos

No classes in Metro Manila, other areas

MANILA, Philippines — The storm-enhanced southwest monsoon dumped torrential rains and spawned massive floods throughout most of Luzon including Metro Manila over the weekend, leaving three persons dead by drowning in Quezon City and Marikina and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Police identified the two casualties in Quezon City as Gloria Mendoza and Gregorio Quilaton.

Mendoza had wounds in the forehead and bruises on her body when her remains were retrieved by responders from a creek near P.V. Kalaw in Tierra Pura Homes in Barangay Culiat at around 3:45 p.m. She clutched a metal pipe.

She was last seen by bystanders trying to cross the flooded creek in the Sapang Kangkong area in the nearby Barangay Old Balara.

Quilaton was found dead along Sto. Domingo Avenue in Barangay Sto. Domingo at around 2:30 a.m.

A witness told the police that he was walking along the street when he was told of a dead man on the side of the street, prompting him to report the incident to police.

No external injury was noted on the body of Quilaton, who apparently drowned.

Both cases were turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of the Quezon City police. 

Meanwhile, the body of Dioscoro Camacho, 36, a resident of Barangay Nangka, was found floating in Marikina river along Miraflores Street in Brgy. Concepcion Uno at about 5 a.m. yesterday.

Ronnie Bernados said his housemate Camacho went out at 8 p.m. last Saturday to save their motorcycle due to the rising floodwaters in their neighborhood, according to Eastern Police District (EPD) director Senior Superintendent Bernabe Balba.

Camacho failed to return home until his body was discovered yesterday in the six-feet Marikina river, said Balba.

Bernados claimed Camacho was a good swimmer, but he surmised that Camacho was electrocuted before he drowned in the rising flood.

Personnel of the EPD’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) conducted a physical examination on Camacho’s body but have yet to release their findings.

As three persons perished, at least 6,774 families or 30,822 individuals were evacuated to higher ground in Metro Manila following two consecutive days of inclement weather.

National Capital Region Police Office director Chief Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar placed the NCRPO on heightened alert as he directed his five district directors to deploy 6x6 trucks and rubber boats to help local government units (LGUs) in their evacuation of affected residents.

Eleazar directed policemen trained in disaster response to be deployed in low-lying areas of the metropolis to convince and help residents in evacuating.

“We have standby units in all of our police districts. All the LGUs would do is to contact our district directors so that policemen with proper training would be deployed to assist in the evacuation process,” Eleazar said in an interview.

Eleazar and Balba braved the rains and inspected the deployment of policemen in Barangays Malanday and Barangka, which were among the areas heavily flooded.

Eleazar directed his men to assist the LGUs as long as their help is needed as the southwest monsoon continued to bring heavy rains in the mountains of Antipolo and other municipalities of Rizal in the norhthern portion of Marikina.

After the water level in Marikina river reached critical stage of 20.5 meters Saturday night, some 5,034 families or 23,870 individuals were evacuated to 26 evacuation centers in the city.

The city disaster response teams also rescued at least 60 trapped individuals from a flooded community yesterday afternoon.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, the water level in Marikina River was recorded at 16 meters but the evacuees were told to remain in their respective evacuation centers.

Mayor Marcy Teodoro and his staff inspected the evacuation centers and distributed relief goods like food and basic necessities.

In the CAMANAVA (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) area, some 450 families or 1,524 individuals were evacuated to 47 evacuation centers while in Quezon City, 1,250 families or 5,287 individuals were evacuated to 16 evacuation centers.

In Manila, 40 families or 141 individuals were brought to seven evacuation centers.

In Quezon City, a majority of 1,623 families or 6,455 individuals were evacuated to three sites in Brgy. Silangan.

The Northern Police District had the most number of flooded and unpassable streets with eight, Manila Police District had seven, EPD had five and Quezon City Police District had two. The Southern Police District had no areas submerged in floodwaters.

At least 328 search and rescue teams of the EPD have been placed on standby while the MPD had 87 and the NPD, 57. SAR teams from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard, fire volunteers and barangay officials have been deployed to closely monitor the water level of the Marikina river.

Flashbacks of Ondoy

The massive flooding triggered by incessant rains from the storm-enhanced southwest monsoon on Saturday brought flashbacks of Tropical Storm Ondoy (international name Ketsana) to some residents of Metro Manila, particularly Marikina, which was the hardest-hit area.

“What’s happening now is like Ondoy because of the nonstop heavy rains that hit us for a short period,” Teodoro said in an interview, referring to the cyclone, which submerged most parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces in September 2009, killing 464 people.

During the onslaught of Ondoy, the water level in Marikina river reached 23 meters, according to officials then.

Meanwhile, monsoon rains will persist over most parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila, until Wednesday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

PAGASA weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio said light to moderate and occasional heavy rains will continue to fall on Metro Manila, Batanes, Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan).

As of 3 p.m. yesterday, Orange Rainfall Warning (intense rainfall) was hoisted over Metro Manila, Rizal, Pampanga and Bulacan, while Yellow Rainfall Warning (heavy rainfall) was still up in Cavite, Quezon, Southern Zambales and Bataan.

Aurelio said Tropical Storm Karding (international name Yagi), which has already left the Philippine area of responsibility last Saturday, continued to enhance the southwest monsoon.

He said, however, that they do not expect the rains in Metro Manila to be as intense as the downpour last Saturday.

In 2012, monsoon rains also brought flooding to 80 percent of the National Capital Region, leaving at least 66 people dead.

Class suspensions

Because of the inclement weather that has triggered massive flooding in wide areas in Luzon, classes in all levels have been suspended today in the entire NCR; Antipolo, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Taytay and Tanay in Rizal; Angat, Balagtas, Baliuag, Bocaue, Bulakan, Bustos, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Hagonoy, Malolos, Marilao, Meycauayan, Obando, Pandi, Paombong, Plaridel, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, San Jose del Monte, San Miguel and San Rafael in Bulacan; entire Pampanga; Camiling in Tarlac; Botolan and Masinloc in Zambales; Binmaley, Lingayen and Mangaldan in Pangasinan; Tagudin in Ilocos Sur; and entire Benguet.

In Sagada, Mountain Province, classes from nursery to high school, public and private, have been suspended.

The University of the Philippines Diliman, University of Santo Tomas and Miriam College have also suspended work and classes for today.

Palace cautions public

Malacañang yesterday urged the public to be on alert as various parts of the country were inundated because of heavy rains caused by the storm-enhanced southwest monsoon.

“We remind the public to remain on alert and to stay safe,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a statement.

“To those living in areas experiencing floods, we urge you to stay at evacuation centers prepared by your local governments,” he added.

President Duterte also made sure the government responds quickly to the onslaught of torrential rains that brought massive flooding.

The President actually did not come home to Davao for the weekend but was at Bahay Pagbabago, his official residence at Malacañang, to monitor the floodings that affected thousands of residents in the metropolis last Saturday.

Duterte flies home to Davao City every weekend but opted to stay in Manila this weekend.

Roque said agencies are working to provide the needs of residents affected by the floods and to ensure their safety. He said more than P120 million worth of assistance has been provided by government agencies and private groups to affected families in Metro Manila and Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas and Cordillera regions.

“We thank the different agencies of government, the private sector and volunteers for continuously giving help to our countrymen,” Roque said. – With Helen Flores, Jaime Laude, Alexis Romero, Edith Regalado, Edu Punay, Rainier Allan Ronda, Mayen Jaymalin, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Cesar Ramirez, Ramon Efren Lazaro

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