Cagayan, Isabela floods death toll hits 7
Raymund Catindig (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2019 - 12:00am

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Philippines — The death toll due to flooding in Isabela and Cagayan since last week has increased to seven.

The bodies of Rick Mar Serame, 30, and Mario Parandit, who drowned in Barangay Allasitan and Bidduang, respectively, in Pamplona, Cagayan  were recovered on Sunday, town police chief Capt. Joel Labasan said.

On Saturday, the body of farmer Hilario Bersamin, 63, who was swept away by floodwaters, was recovered in a corn field in Barangay Sto. Tomas.

Three others drowned in flashfloods in Tumauini and Ilagan City in Isabela and Linao, Aparri.

Rosendo Calayan, 71, was gored to death by his carabao when he tried to pull the animal to a higher ground in Barangay Linao Norte in this city.

Authorities said a four-year-old boy who was trapped in his house that was buried in a landslide in Barangay Kalayukay, Luna, Apayao on Thursday also remains missing.

Thousands remain in evacuation centers in Cagayan and Isabela.

Not due to illegal logging

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the flashfloods in Cagayan and Isabela were not due to illegal logging.

“There is no evidence of freshly cut or illegally cut trees. These are trees damaged in previous strong typhoons that hit the region,” DENR-Cagayan Valley regional director Antonio Abawag said, referring to logs and trees swept away by floodwaters.

Abawag said the DENR is conducting an inventory of these logs and uprooted trees.

He said the Regional Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force has intensified its campaign against forest destruction in coordination with police and military personnel.

Abawag said they would investigate those behind illegal logging in the region.

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba had earlier said illegal logging thrives in his province because it has the blessing of local government, police and DENR officials.   

Still cloudy with rains

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the massive flooding was due to heavy rains spawned by the northeast monsoon and tail-end of a cold front.

Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras and Ilocos will continue to have cloudy skies with light rains and gusty winds due to the northeast monsoon, the state weather bureau said yesterday.

PAGASA said residents of Bicol and Northern Samar should brace for flooding and landslides due to heavy rains from the tail-end of a cold front.

Bicol and Northern Samar were among those badly hit  by Typhoon Tisoy, the strongest cyclone to hit the country this year, which left 17 people dead.

No low-pressure area or tropical cyclone is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility in the next three days, PAGASA weather forecaster Meno Mendoza said.

A total of 20 cyclones entered the Philippines this year. One more cyclone was forecast to enter the country this month. – With Helen Flores, Victor Martin

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