Vehicles are seen on a flooded portion of the MacArthur Highway in Marilao, Bulacan yesterday. Tropical Storm Falcon brought heavy rains over parts of Luzon and Visayas before exiting the country.
Michael Varcas
'Falcon' leaves 3 dead
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Heavy rains spawned by Tropical Storm Falcon left three people dead in Cagayan Valley and Negros Occidental, disaster officials reported yesterday.

Cagayan Valley Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director Atanacio Macalan said two of the fatalities were from the towns of Gattaran and Abulog in Cagayan Valley.

Officials identified them as Judith Berbano from Abulog and a certain “Sedong” from Gattaran. Both victims reportedly drowned.

Berbano fell overboard when the motorboat she was riding was battered by big waves in Abulog while Sedong was swept away as he attempted to cross a swollen river in Gattaran.

The Provincial Disaster Management Program Office of Negros Occidentual identified the third fatality as Ma. Theresa Orias, who reportedly drowned while gathering bamboo in Barangay 1 Poblacion, Isabela town.

Meanwhile, the National  Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has monitored a total of 10 storm-related incidents including landslide, flooding, vehicular and maritime mishaps in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Mimaropa (Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan), Bicol and Western Visayas.

“A total of 87 families or 391 persons were also affected by Falcon in 12 barangays in Cagayan Valley and CAR,” the NDRRMC said.

Nine road sections and three bridges in Cagayan Valley and CAR were closed to traffic due to flooding and landslides.

Over in the Bicol region and Western Visayas, heavy rains induced by Falcon have resulted in the flooding of 21 areas, nine of which started to subside yesterday.

The heavy monsoon rains triggered by Falcon also forced the suspension of classes in 461 areas in Ilocos, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) Mimorapa, Bicol, Western and Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanoa, Caraga, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), CAR and some parts of Metro Manila.

Other areas in Mindanao continue to experience monsoon rains enhanced by Falcon.

The provincial government of Lanao del Norte has conducted preemptive evacuation involving 159 families from the towns of Salvador and Curva Miagao due to strong winds and heavy downpour.

Preemptive evacuation involving 3,044 families was also conducted in the flood-stricken towns of Lala, Kapatagan, Sapad and Sultan Naga Dimaporo.

Initial reports showed the town of Maranding in Lanao del Norte suffered substantive damage to agriculture after nearby rivers swelled and submerged some 3,100 hectares of crops.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles assured the public that government is looking into measures to mitigate damage to agriculture areas in Mindanao destroyed by Falcon and monsoon rains.

Nograles, also chairman of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), said the concerned government agencies are coordinating with local government units to ascertain the damage caused by the tropical storm, which is expected to bring added monsoon rains in the next days.

“We’re examining and assessing areas devoted to agriculture that were affected and are going to be affected by the tropical storm. Agencies such as the NIA play a crucial role in ensuring that support services are maintained during natural weather disturbances,” Nograles said.

Nograles said government teams have been instructed to determine cost of repairs so that the national government can respond accordingly.

The NIA is closely coordinating with its local offices in Lanao del Norte to address the concerns in the province.

“Monitoring teams are reporting developments in Mindanao as well as in other parts of the country. Our aim in all these is to know what needs to be done and remedy the situation at the soonest possible time,” Nograles said.

New threat

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has monitored a new low-pressure area west northwest of Ilocos Sur.

At 3 p.m. yesterday, the weather system was estimated at 310 kilometers west northwest of Sinait, Ilocos Sur.

PAGASA weather specialist Ezra Bulquerin said the low-pressure area may develop into a tropical depression within 36 hours.

This came after Falcon intensified slightly as it left the Philippine area of responsibility.

At 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Falcon was estimated at 655 kilometers north northeast of Basco, Batanes, outside the Philippine area of responsibility.

With maximum sustained winds of 80 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph, it is said to be moving north at 25 kph.

Tropical Cyclone Signal Warning No. 1 over northern portion of Babuyan Islands has been lifted.

Moderate to at times heavy rains will be experienced over Ilocos region, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, and northern Palawan, including Calamian and Cuyo Islands.

Meanwhile, light to moderate to at times heavy rains will be experienced over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon.  –  With Christina Mendez, Gilbert Bayoran, Raymund Catindig, Cesar Ramirez, Rhodina Villanueva

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