Statement of President Aquino, Flooding in Northeastern Luzon

November 7, 2010
Since November 1, a Low Pressure Area has brought more than 400 millimeters of rain upon Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Aurora, Apayao and Kalinga, provinces that were already affected by Typhoon Juan. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has anticipated the aggravating effects of this weather development by taking the following actions:
  • NDRRMC disseminated flood advisories of PAGASA to the concerned regional, provincial and municipal disaster risk reduction and management councils to warn the public.
  • The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) allocated a total of PHP 15,378,518.25 worth of standby funds, family food packs and stockpile of relief commodities. In addition, a truckload consisting of 2,000 family food packs and 250 boxes of noodles were sent to Tuguegarao City.
  • The Department of Health-Health Emergency Management Staff (DOH-HEMS) prepositioned assorted medicines and medical supplies worth PHP 1,231,922.00 in Cagayan, Quirino and Aurora.
  • The uniformed services consisting of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) augmented their search and rescue (SAR) assets already operating in Cagayan, Isabela and Tuguegarao, to include the following:
  • A Navy Patrol Gun Boat (PGB Alfredo Tecson) ferried rescue boats to Barangay Esperanza, Casiguran, Aurora
  • San Vicente Naval Operating Base in Santa Ana, Cagayan also sent an officer-led team with a rubber boat on board an M35 truck to augment the 17th Infantry Battalion
  • Two PAF helicopters were dedicated for dispatch as of November 4 but were only flown the following day due to unfavorable weather
  • Pre-emptive evacuations were conducted at the barangay level. However, some residents particularly in the area of Lasam, Cagayan initially refused but eventually acceded to be evacuated.
Through the directive of NDRRMC Chair, DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, nationally-coordinated disaster response operations started last November 3 in the affected provinces.
I have instructed NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo to coordinate operations in provinces affected by the Low Pressure Area that have caused continuous heavy rains in Northeastern Luzon. As of 5PM of November 6, a total of 30,018 families have been affected. Of these, 3,979 are sheltered in 56 evacuation centers.
The NDRRMC has confirmed that in Lubuagan, Kalinga an embankment was formed due to the collapse of a mountain slope. The landslide caused artificial damming that impounded a lot of water. It eventually collapsed introducing the impounded water into the Chico River. Pre-emptive evacuations were conducted and the river is being monitored by the LGU and the Philippine Army. The increased outflow from the Chico River is expected to swell the Cagayan River.
I have further directed the relevant authorities to coordinate with local governments and the Magat Dam operator to increase the carrying capacity of the reservoir in anticipation of additional heavy rains coming from the Low Pressure Area. The water level in Cagayan River has receded. This allowed us to increase from 750 cms to 1,000 cms the Magat Dam’s outflow. The outflow will not cause any overflowing of the Cagayan River.
The NDRRMC and DOST – PAGASA will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates to the public.
On another note, the generosity of the people of Albay is worth mentioning at this time. Governor Joey Salceda informed me that they have organized and dispatched a 76-member team of nurses and paramedics, water sanitation specialists, a water purifier and a water tanker to Isabela. The provincial government has made a cash donation of 250 thousand pesos to Isabela, over and above their donation of 250 thousand pesos to the province of Cagayan.
This is truly the bayanihan spirit at work.
I have also been monitoring the increased activity of the Bulusan Volcano. PHILVOLCS has raised the alert level there from 0 to 1, as there are indications that the current activity may lead to more steam and ash ejections. The public at present is prohibited from entering the 4-kilometer Permanent Danger Zone, and residents near valleys and streams cautioned to be vigilant for sediment-laden stream flows in case of heavy rains. The OCD Regional Center V is coordinating with the PDRRMC in Sorsogon and other offices, to ensure preparations are in place in case the alert level is raised further.
I ask our people to continue to be resilient in the face of these calamities. Rest assured that your government is doing its best to alleviate the sufferings of our affected countrymen