'MARIO' DEATH TOLL CLIMBS TO 7  

SEPT 20 --PHOTO: Residents, who were evacuated from their homes, eat dinner at an evacuation center after heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong (local name Mario) flooded Marikina city and most parts of the metropolis, Friday, Sept 19, 2014. Torrential monsoon rains worsened by a tropical storm flooded large swathes of the Metro Manila and nearby provinces Friday, leaving at least three people dead and displacing tens of thousands just days after the region was drenched by a typhoon.

Tropical cyclone "Mario" caused the deaths of three other people besides the initial count of four, a state agency said Saturday. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Undersecretary Alexander Pama said that the seven recorded fatalities were the latest confirmed dead due to severe floods and winds brought by the last storm. Pama said in a radio interview that two victims died Friday in Antipolo City and Quezon City, among the areas weather bureau PAGASA declared under red rainfall warning on Friday as Mario battered northern tip of the country but affecting the rest of Luzon and Visayas.

Two other 22-year-olds, meanwhile, perished after being electrocuted at the University of Santo Tomas and in Cubao area in Quezon City. Besides the two-year-old child from Bagong Silangan, Quezon City who was earlier reported dead, a month-old baby as well as a 69-year-old woman in Rodriguez, Rizal and a 31-year-old man from Nueva Vizcaya was counted among the fatalities on Friday. NDRRMC reported that at least 118,000 families were affected by the weather disturbance. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT

ALSO latest report: Death toll from Tropical Storm Mario reaches 10

SEPT 22 --Photo shows Metropolitan Manila Development Authority workers taking part in a cleanup drive along Baywalk in Manila. MANILA, Philippines - Ten people died from Tropical Storm Mario and damage to agriculture and infrastructure was placed at P144 million. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the deaths – mostly by drowning – were reported in Metro Manila, the province of Rizal and Bicol region. In Metro Manila, seven people were reported injured. In an update yesterday morning, the NDRRMC said Mario affected a total of 118,118 families (equivalent to 840,368 people) in Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region. Of these, a total of 42,897 families or 197,509 people were inside 379 evacuation centers.

Mario also damaged 599 houses (90 totally;83,509 partially). Thousands of people in Metro Manila and nearby regions were displaced by floods and their houses swamped with floodwater on Friday and Saturday. The NDRRMC said heavy rains paralyzed Metro Manila and nearby regions on Friday. Seventy-five roads and three bridges remain impassable in Metro Manila, Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, Central Visayas, and CAR. As of 6 a.m. yesterday, 222 areas in Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Metro Manila remain flooded. The NDRRMC estimated P48,476,165 in damage to agriculture and P1.850 million to infrastructure in Ilocos Norte, and P2.4-million infrastructural damage in Pangasinan. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)reported P91.34 million in damage to roads. The NDRRMC said P14,506,635.58 in government relief goods and medicines were distributed to affected families in aforementioned regions. *READ MORE...

ALSO: After pummeling Metro storm Mario batters Ilocos  

SEPT 21 --PHOTO: A man with fishing poles stays clear of rushing water released by the Bustos Dam in Bulacan yesterday after Tropical Storm Mario dumped heavy rains on provinces in Northern Luzon. After battering Metro Manila, Tropical Storm Mario pummeled the Ilocos Region the whole day yesterday with strong winds and heavy rains, triggering another round of mass evacuation and destruction to agricultural crops. Flashfloods hit the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union, according to various reports from the region’s Office of Civil Defense. Ilocos Norte was placed under a state of calamity. The provincial board made the declaration in an emergency session to fast-track the release of funds needed for relief operations, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) announced yesterday. More than P20 million worth of damage in agriculture has been recorded so far by the PDRRMC.

“Almost nothing is left standing of the rice and garlic scheduled for harvesting,” said Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos in a radio broadcast yesterday afternoon. Marcos said that it had been raining heavily in Ilocos Norte for more than 10 hours. The province is also without electricity from Friday night until yesterday due to toppled electrical posts and the snapping of power transmission lines. There were also reports that an Army base in Narvacan town in Ilocos Norte was hit by the flooding, trapping the soldiers who were supposed to be deployed for rescue operations in the flooded barangays. Major roads in Region 1 are not passable to all types of vehicles. In Ilocos Sur, affected areas are the junction of Narvacan town and portions of Sta. Maria town and Candon City.

In Ilocos Norte, not passable are the bridges in Barangay Pansian in Pagudpod, while in La Union sections of Luna and Bangar towns are under water. Dagupan City, one of the most affected areas in the province of Pangasinan, was also placed under a state of calamity because many barangays are flooded. In Luna town in La Union, six villages are submerged. The province of Bulacan was also hard hit by Mario. As of yesterday, at least 48 villages in six municipalities and two cities in Bulacan were submerged in floodwaters, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC 3) said. *READ MORE...

ALSO: Floods shut down Metro  

SEPT 10 --PHOTO: Residents wait for makeshift boats during an evacuation in flooded Barangay Tumana in Marikina City yesterday.MANILA, Philippines - Torrential rain brought by the southwest monsoon and boosted by Tropical Storm Mario (international name Fung-Wong) flooded many parts of Metro Manila yesterday, shutting down schools, shops and government offices, and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands. A three-year-old toddler in Quezon City was one of two fatalities recorded as of last night. The other was a 34-year-old man who reportedly drowned after falling into floodwaters from the second floor of his shanty also in Quezon City. There were unconfirmed reports that a University of Santo Tomas medical student died after accidentally coming into contact with a dangling live wire outside the university.

Marikina, where an overflowing river forced hundreds out of their homes, was placed under a state of calamity to hasten relief and evacuation operations. Residents were evacuated early yesterday from severely inundated communities, some with rapidly flowing waters that rose up to five feet. Radio stations reported residents taking shelter on the second floor of homes where the water had reached the ceiling of the ground floor. Flooded streets caused traffic gridlock in many parts of Metro Manila, with motorists unaware of the extent of the flooding due to a lack of reports from local authorities. Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., announced the suspension of classes and government offices in Metro Manila and in 15 provinces at around 6:30 a.m. Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba said in a text message a price freeze would be in effect for 60 days in areas under a state of calamity unless lifted by concerned local government units.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said red rainfall warning – the highest in the three-stage rainfall alert system – was up over Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan as of noon yesterday. Weather forecaster Dioni Sarmiento said more than 260 millimeters (10 inches) of rain fell over Metro Manila over a 24-hour period ending early yesterday. That was more than half the amount of rain that caused massive flooding across the metropolis of 12 million people in September 2009 at the height of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana). The storm also forced the suspension of House plenary deliberations on the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015. In a text message, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said all agencies whose budgets were lined up for deliberations yesterday had been informed promptly of the work suspension.

“We just have to work much longer next week,” Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said when asked about the possible delay in budget deliberations. The Manila Electric Co. said it had to cut power in some areas for safety reasons. “Electricity circuits are turned off in low-lying areas where there is severe flooding. There is a possibility that affected electrical circuits may affect electricity supply in nearby areas where there is no visible flooding,” Meralco said in an advisory. *READ MORE...

ALSO: China urges Phl to solve kidnapping cases  

SEPT 21 --CHENGDU, Sichuan – Alarmed by reports of the rising number of Chinese citizens getting kidnapped or killed in the Philippines, Chinese diplomats in Manila are appealing to the Philippine government to act swiftly on the matter and ensure punishment for perpetrators. The Chinese embassy in Manila relayed its concerns to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine National Police. Embassy officials held a dialogue with anti-kidnapping watchdog Citizens Against Crime and Corruption led by Teresita Ang-Sy to express their concerns over the safety of their nationals and help determine ways of protecting them while they are in the country.

“However, until now none of the killers have been arrested, none of the robbers have been arrested, none of the stealers have been arrested,” a Chinese foreign ministry official said in an interview. The official could not say if ransom had been paid for the release of some of Chinese kidnap victims. “We cannot provide information. What we are concerned about is the safety of our citizens,” the official added, stressing there was justification for the issuance of travel notice by the Chinese embassy in Manila for Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines. “It’s our obligation to remind our people,” the official said. Statistics culled from Jan. 1 to Sept. 18 this year by the Chinese embassy in Manila showed 12 separate kidnap-for-ransom incidents with 14 victims. * READ MORE...

ALSO: 18 Chinese nationals die in 2014 while in PHL, sudden spike alarms China 

SEPT 20 --Eighteen Chinese citizens have died so far this year in separate incidents in the Philippines. A Chinese official said the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Manila is alarmed by the development. The embassy has stepped up coordination with the Philippine National Police and local anti-crime advocates. In an interview with reporters in Chengdu, the Chinse foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least four of the Chinese citizens died in accidents while the 14 others were killed in separate kidnapping and murder incidents. "The Philippine government declared that it is safer in the Philippines, but we cannot feel it...In the past years, only 6 to 7 deaths average per year was recorded, but this year, it's not even the end yet, it's already 18," he said.

He added that they have also received reports of an alleged plan to attack the Chinese Embassy in Manila by a self-proclaimed anti-China group. "There was even someone who wanted to attack the embassy. They wanted to bomb the embassy," he said. "So, it is our obligation to remind the Chinese to keep safe." The official said the Chinese government has coordinated with local police and the Philippine National Police, and anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang-See, adding that no suspect has been arrested in connection to recent crimes against Chinese nationals. Chinese tourists going to popular locations in the Philippines has also been a growing coordination concern with Philippine authorities. "For tourism, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, El Nido," said the Chinese official. The Philippine government is expected to open a Consulate General in the capital city of Sichuan province in China within the next three years as more Chinese nationals want to visit the Philippines. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

'Mario' death toll climbs to 7


Residents, who were evacuated from their homes, eat dinner at an evacuation center after heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical storm Fung-Wong (local name Mario) flooded Marikina city and most parts of the metropolis, Friday, Sept 19, 2014. Torrential monsoon rains worsened by a tropical storm flooded large swathes of the Metro Manila and nearby provinces Friday, leaving at least three people dead and displacing tens of thousands just days after the region was drenched by a typhoon. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 (PHILSTAR) September 20, 2014 - Tropical cyclone "Mario" caused the deaths of three other people besides the initial count of four, a state agency said Saturday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Undersecretary Alexander Pama said that the seven recorded fatalities were the latest confirmed dead due to severe floods and winds brought by the last storm.

Pama said in a radio interview that two victims died Friday in Antipolo City and Quezon City, among the areas weather bureau PAGASA declared under red rainfall warning on Friday as Mario battered northern tip of the country but affecting the rest of Luzon and Visayas.

CAMARINES NORTE

Raging floodwaters due to the intense downpour from tropical storm "Mario" and the southwest monsoon washed away a highway detour bridge in Camarines Norte on Thursday night. The bridge, part of the Maharlika Highway leading to the province, in Santa Elena town was destroyed as the muddy water rose and caused the concrete structure, which was under repair, to crumble. Camarines Norte Gov. Edgar Tallado said in an interview with dzMM that motorists from Manila going to Daet have to be diverted to Quirino Highway (called Andaya Highway) all the way through Sipocot in Camarines Sur. Two hours are added to the usual travel time due to the destroyed bridge.

Two other 22-year-olds, meanwhile, perished after being electrocuted at the University of Santo Tomas and in Cubao area in Quezon City.

Besides the two-year-old child from Bagong Silangan, Quezon City who was earlier reported dead, a month-old baby as well as a 69-year-old woman in Rodriguez, Rizal and a 31-year-old man from Nueva Vizcaya was counted among the fatalities on Friday.

NDRRMC reported that at least 118,000 families were affected by the weather disturbance.

Death toll from Tropical Storm Mario reaches 10 By Cecille Suerte Felipe and Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 22, 2014 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0

Photo shows Metropolitan Manila Development Authority workers taking part in a cleanup drive along Baywalk in Manila. JOVEN CAGANDE MANILA, Philippines - Ten people died from Tropical Storm Mario and damage to agriculture and infrastructure was placed at P144 million.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the deaths – mostly by drowning – were reported in Metro Manila, the province of Rizal and Bicol region.

In Metro Manila, seven people were reported injured.

In an update yesterday morning, the NDRRMC said Mario affected a total of 118,118 families (equivalent to 840,368 people) in Ilocos region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region.

Of these, a total of 42,897 families or 197,509 people were inside 379 evacuation centers.

Mario also damaged 599 houses (90 totally;83,509 partially).

Thousands of people in Metro Manila and nearby regions were displaced by floods and their houses swamped with floodwater on Friday and Saturday.

The NDRRMC said heavy rains paralyzed Metro Manila and nearby regions on Friday.

Seventy-five roads and three bridges remain impassable in Metro Manila, Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, Central Visayas, and CAR.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, 222 areas in Ilocos, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Metro Manila remain flooded.

The NDRRMC estimated P48,476,165 in damage to agriculture and P1.850 million to infrastructure in Ilocos Norte, and P2.4-million infrastructural damage in Pangasinan.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)reported P91.34 million in damage to roads.

The NDRRMC said P14,506,635.58 in government relief goods and medicines were distributed to affected families in aforementioned regions.

* These are from the combined resources of the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) at P13,524,637; local governments P882,537.60, and Department of Health (DOH) P99,460.98.

Power has been restored in the province of Ifugao, while Ilocos Norte remains under a state of calamity, the NDRRMC said.

Mario moves away

Mario (international name Fung-wong) moved away from the country yesterday.

However, weather forecasters said monsoon rains will continue to affect the Batanes Group of Islands in the next 24 hours.

Mario was expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) this afternoon and move toward Taiwan.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, all storm warning signals have been lifted, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of Mario was spotted at 261 kilometers north-northwest of Itbayat, Batanes with maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 100 kph.

Mario was forecast to move north northeast at 20 kph.

PAGASA said the Batanes Group of Islands will experience monsoon rains which may trigger flashfloods and landslides.

The Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands and Ilocos provinces will have cloudy skies with occasional rains.

Metro Manila and the rest of the country will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms.

PAGASA said coastal waters of Luzon will be moderate to rough. Elsewhere, winds will be light to moderate coming from the south to southwest with slight to moderate seas.

Mario was projected to be at 724 km north of Itbayat or outside the PAR this afternoon.

Body found

Rescuers found the body of a five-year-old boy floating in an irrigation canal in Barangay Oaqui in Luna, La Union following the onslaught of Mario last Friday.

Chief Inspector Reynaldo Soria, Luna police chief, identified the body as that of Clyde Maveric Acosta.

They are still looking for the body of 23-year-old Daryl Opeña of San Juan town along the Baroro river, he added.

Rescuers are still searching for barangay kagawad Federico Nillio, who was carried by strong currents while trying to save his livestock in Barangay Barangubong in the same town.

Barangay chairman Alex Nuval also remained missing as 1 p.m. Saturday.

In Aringay, La Union at least 240 houses were submerged in a storm surge in coastal Barangay Alaska.

No casualties were reported among the 1,000 people affected.

In Bataan, the towns of Hermosa, Abucay and Mariveles remained flooded from knee to waist- deep.

In Barangay Almacen in Hermosa, floodwaters were from knee to waist-deep of average-sized person, while a portion of Barangay Mabatang in Abucay town was knee-deep.

Residents of Almacen resorted to motorized bancas for transportation.

In Mariveles town, barangays Balon Anito, Ipag and San Isidro remained flooded.

The floodwaters were from knee to breast-deep on Friday, but subsided on Saturday.

At least 47 families or about 235 people were taken to evacuation centers in Mariveles.

An old woman identified as Zenaida Mendoza was hurt in her haste to call for help after a wall collapsed outside the house of her daughter.

Coastguardsmen and policemen in rubber boats and bamboo rafts evacuated the Luna Sports Center following continuous rains and strong winds.

Dredging

Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado again called on the national government to dredge heavily silted rivers in Bulacan and Pampanga to lessen the effects of flooding.

Floods in several barangays in the fourth and second districts of Bulacan were attributed to the overflowing of silterd rivers, he added.

The national government must reactivate the defunct Pampanga River Control System, an agency under the DPWH mandated to dredge regularly the river systems in Bulacan and Pampanga, Alvarado said.

In Pampanga, several low-lying barangays in the towns of Macabebe, Masantol, Candaba, San Luis and Minalin were under floodwaters from three to four feet deep.

Floods from dam

In Isabela, the provincial government alerted yesterday residents along downstream barangays near Magat Dam of possible floods as the water level remained critical due to rains from Mario.

Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III said a mass evacuation of residents along the dam’s low-lying areas was being readied since Friday in anticipation of the possible release of excess water along the Isabela-Ifugao border.

Areas to be effected are the municipalities of Cabagan, Santa Maria, San Pablo, Tumauini, Delfin Albano, Gamu, Naguilian, Alicia, Angadanan, Echague, Jones, Agustin and the capital city of Ilagan.

However, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) allayed fears of possible flooding along the downstream towns.

Stored water would be reserved for El Niño forecast to affect the country by yearend, the NIA added.

Water would be released from the dam gradually to avoid flooding along the low-lying areas of Isabela and southern Cagayan, the NIA said.

As of 2 p.m. yesterday, NIA engineer Saturnino Tenedor said Magat Dam’s water elevation was at 190.72 meters, which is within the critical level of 190 meters. – With Raymund Catindig, Ariel Paolo Tejada, Vic Alhambra Jr., Ric Sapnu, Artemio Dumlao, Charlie Lagasca, Non Alquitran, Edu Punay, Rainier Allan Ronda

Storm Mario batters Ilocos  By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 21, 2014 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


A man with fishing poles stays clear of rushing water released by the Bustos Dam in Bulacan yesterday after Tropical Storm Mario dumped heavy rains on provinces in Northern Luzon. VAL RODRIGUEZ

MANILA, Philippines - After battering Metro Manila, Tropical Storm Mario pummeled the Ilocos Region the whole day yesterday with strong winds and heavy rains, triggering another round of mass evacuation and destruction to agricultural crops.

Flashfloods hit the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan and La Union, according to various reports from the region’s Office of Civil Defense.

Ilocos Norte was placed under a state of calamity. The provincial board made the declaration in an emergency session to fast-track the release of funds needed for relief operations, the Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) announced yesterday.

More than P20 million worth of damage in agriculture has been recorded so far by the PDRRMC.

“Almost nothing is left standing of the rice and garlic scheduled for harvesting,” said Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos in a radio broadcast yesterday afternoon.

Marcos said that it had been raining heavily in Ilocos Norte for more than 10 hours. The province is also without electricity from Friday night until yesterday due to toppled electrical posts and the snapping of power transmission lines.

There were also reports that an Army base in Narvacan town in Ilocos Norte was hit by the flooding, trapping the soldiers who were supposed to be deployed for rescue operations in the flooded barangays.

Major roads in Region 1 are not passable to all types of vehicles.

In Ilocos Sur, affected areas are the junction of Narvacan town and portions of Sta. Maria town and Candon City.

In Ilocos Norte, not passable are the bridges in Barangay Pansian in Pagudpod, while in La Union sections of Luna and Bangar towns are under water.

Dagupan City, one of the most affected areas in the province of Pangasinan, was also placed under a state of calamity because many barangays are flooded.

In Luna town in La Union, six villages are submerged.

The province of Bulacan was also hard hit by Mario. As of yesterday, at least 48 villages in six municipalities and two cities in Bulacan were submerged in floodwaters, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC 3) said.

* The RDRRMC 3 said severe flooding swept through 11 villages in Meycauayan City, six villages in San Jose del Monte City, eight in the town of Calumpit, seven each in Sta. Maria and Obando, six in Marilao, and three in Bocaue.

Disaster authorities are still tallying the number of flooded areas in the towns of Norzagaray, Bustos, Baliwag and Balagtas.

Hardest hit were Meycauayan City and the towns of Marilao, Calumpit and Bocaue, where several villages were inundated under two to four feet of rampaging floods at the height of the storm. Heavy rains also triggered a landslide in the mountain town of Norzagaray.

At least 2,562 families, or 12,786 persons, in the towns of Sta. Maria, Bocaue, Baliwag, Bustos, Norzagaray, Balagtas, Obando, Calumpit and in the cities of Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte were evacuated to different evacuation centers.

Bulacan Gov. Wilhemino Alvarado said emergency rescue units were also dispatched to the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit, the perennial catch basins of floods from Pampanga and Nueva Ecija and waters released from Ipo and Bustos dams.

Alvarado said local authorities are closely monitoring the effects of floodwaters cascading towards Calumpit and Hagonoy because Ipo and Bustos dams have released excess water. With Czerina Valencia, Pia Lee-Brago, Ric Sapnu, Ariel Paolo Tejada, Eva Visperas, Jun Elias, Vic Alhambra Jr.

Floods shut down Metro By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 20, 2014 - 12:00am 14 262 googleplus1 1


Residents wait for makeshift boats during an evacuation in flooded Barangay Tumana in Marikina City yesterday. WALTER BOLLOZOS

MANILA, Philippines - Torrential rain brought by the southwest monsoon and boosted by Tropical Storm Mario (international name Fung-Wong) flooded many parts of Metro Manila yesterday, shutting down schools, shops and government offices, and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands.

A three-year-old toddler in Quezon City was one of two fatalities recorded as of last night. The other was a 34-year-old man who reportedly drowned after falling into floodwaters from the second floor of his shanty also in Quezon City.

There were unconfirmed reports that a University of Santo Tomas medical student died after accidentally coming into contact with a dangling live wire outside the university.

Marikina, where an overflowing river forced hundreds out of their homes, was placed under a state of calamity to hasten relief and evacuation operations.

Residents were evacuated early yesterday from severely inundated communities, some with rapidly flowing waters that rose up to five feet.

Radio stations reported residents taking shelter on the second floor of homes where the water had reached the ceiling of the ground floor.

Flooded streets caused traffic gridlock in many parts of Metro Manila, with motorists unaware of the extent of the flooding due to a lack of reports from local authorities.

Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., announced the suspension of classes and government offices in Metro Manila and in 15 provinces at around 6:30 a.m.

Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba said in a text message a price freeze would be in effect for 60 days in areas under a state of calamity unless lifted by concerned local government units.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said red rainfall warning – the highest in the three-stage rainfall alert system – was up over Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna and Bulacan as of noon yesterday.

Weather forecaster Dioni Sarmiento said more than 260 millimeters (10 inches) of rain fell over Metro Manila over a 24-hour period ending early yesterday.

That was more than half the amount of rain that caused massive flooding across the metropolis of 12 million people in September 2009 at the height of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana).

The storm also forced the suspension of House plenary deliberations on the proposed P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015.

In a text message, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said all agencies whose budgets were lined up for deliberations yesterday had been informed promptly of the work suspension.

“We just have to work much longer next week,” Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said when asked about the possible delay in budget deliberations.

The Manila Electric Co. said it had to cut power in some areas for safety reasons.

“Electricity circuits are turned off in low-lying areas where there is severe flooding. There is a possibility that affected electrical circuits may affect electricity supply in nearby areas where there is no visible flooding,” Meralco said in an advisory.

* Saturday classes were suspended in the University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela, Malabon University, Philippine College of Criminology, San Sebastian College-Recoletos Manila, University of the Philippines-Manila (including office work), Technological University of the Philippines and Malabon Institute of Technology.

Clogged waterways

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said some parts of the capital became flooded overnight and residents in a number of slum communities were evacuated to safety.

But he said floodwaters were receding fast because major drainage pipes had been cleared of trash before the rainy season. He did not say how many have been evacuated in the city.

“Our anti-flood infrastructure has been neglected for a long time,” Estrada said. “You go abroad and you see big houses of the rich along clean rivers. But here, the riverbanks teem with squatter colonies, which don’t have septic tanks and treat the river like a garbage can,” he said.

Residents of Baseco, Parola and Isla Puting Bato and those living near the boundary of San Juan were forcibly evacuated as early as 6 a.m.

Floodwaters in some parts of Sta. Mesa, particularly V. Mapa street, reached neck-deep, forcing residents to make improvised boats from old refrigerators and bathtubs to evacuate.

Several commuters were seen stranded at the LRT station on V. Mapa.

Taft Avenue, Quirino Avenue, Ermita, Malate, Sta. Cruz, Quezon Boulevard, España, Sampaloc, Sta. Mesa, Nagtahan, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, Roxas Boulevard and Tondo were not passable to light vehicles earlier yesterday due to floods.

But someone’s misery is another’s opportunity. Pedicab drivers made a killing yesterday, charging commuters as much as P100 to P150 to ferry them across flooded streets to their destinations.

Forced evacuation

In Marikina City, Mayor Del de Guzman ordered the forced evacuation of residents in low-lying barangays after the water level at the Marikina River reached 19.2 meters as early as 8 a.m. yesterday. Classes remain suspended in all levels in the city today. City workers involved in relief and rescue are required to report for work, however.

The eight floodgates at the Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City were opened to ease the flow of water into the Marikina River.

Zharina Biong, a staffer of the disaster management unit of Marikina City, said more than 27,000 people, most of them living near the swollen Marikina River, have been evacuated since dawn yesterday.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said displaced families in the National Capital Region (NCR) totaled 10,288 or 37,263 individuals.

NDRRMC chief Alexander Pama said they were verifying reports of storm-related deaths. Local disaster officials said a three-year-old girl in Barangay Bagong Silangan, in Fairview, Quezon City identified as Althea Gaviola died of drowning.

The Gaviola family were evacuating when she fell into a swollen creek. The victim’s father managed to pull her out from the floodwaters and rush her to East Avenue Medical Center where she died.

Pama said they were also checking reports from the Red Cross that two other people in Marikina and in Caloocan City had died during the onslaught of the storm.

There were also reports of landslide in Antipolo yesterday morning.

He also appealed to residents of communities near the Marikina River to leave for safer ground. “Our latest monitoring on Marikina River is quite alarming,” Pama said.

“I am now calling on those who are living near these river tributaries to be conscious of their own safety,” Pama said.

Verifying deaths

The other drowning fatality in Quezon City was identified as JayR Taganas, 34, of Barangay Apolonio Samson.

Elmo San Diego, head of the city government’s Department of Public Order and Safety, said they also received reports that a man was carried away by raging floodwaters in Barangay Pasong Tamo.

San Diego said the Quezon City villages severely affected by the flood were Barangays Bagong Silangan, Tatalon, Doña Imelda and Roxas district.

“We had been warning them since last (Thursday) night but many refused to leave their homes. It was only in the morning that they decided to evacuate,” San Diego said.

“The refusal of the residents in flood-prone areas made the rescue and emergency operation more difficult. It also put the lives of rescuers in peril,” he said.

Floodwaters had risen to as high as eight feet in some parts of the city like on Araneta Ave. and Kaliraya Street, according to Quezon City Police District director Chief Superintendent Richard Albano.

Local authorities in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (Camanava) also had to deal with residents who decided to evacuate only at the last minute.

As of 2 p.m. yesterday, close to 2,127 families in Caloocan, mostly from Barangays 160 and 163, were brought to different evacuation centers, 533 families or 2,129 individuals from Malabon were forcibly evacuated, and more than a thousand were taken to different schools and evacuation sites in Valenzuela.

Navotas suffered only minimal flooding in some main roads in the morning. Officials declared all roads passable by 3 p.m.

Traffic was stalled along Dagat-dagatan Avenue when floodwaters reached waist deep, especially near Tanigue street going to C-3 Road, the main thoroughfare leading to the Port Area in Manila.

The Northern Police District (NPD) headquarters was also flooded, rendering police vehicles useless and stranding a small number of personnel inside.

Malabon Mayor Antolin Oreta III and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian were seen persuading their respective constituents living near the Tullahan River to go to the nearest evacuation centers as water began to spill in La Mesa Dam before noon.

Malabon public information office chief Bong Padua said they expected the number of evacuees to balloon “but we are prepared for any contingency.”

Saturday classes at the City of Malabon University, Malabon Polytechnic Institute, Navotas Polytechnic College and Gov. Andres Pascual College were suspended.

Valenzuela officials said they had received no reports of casualties or missing.

“Maybe because the residents are now aware about the efforts of their local governments and the city officials are prepared for calamities,” said Valenzuela police chief Senior Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento.

Mario, which packed winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour, made landfall in Sta. Ana, Cagayan province at around noon yesterday.

Mario is predicted to be at 216 northwest of Itbayat, Batanes this afternoon and at 499 km north northeast of Itbayat or outside the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow afternoon.

Aldczar Aurelio of PAGASA said Metro Manila received nearly its entire average rainfall for September in just 12 hours.

The massive flooding happened exactly a week before the fifth anniversary of storm Ondoy.

On Sept. 26, 2009, Metro Manila and nearby provinces were submerged in floods after Ondoy dumped a month’s worth of rain – 455 mm – in one day. With Non Alquitran, Rey Galupo, Jaime Laude, Reinir Padua, Louella Desiderio, Iris Gonzales, Paolo Romero, Edu Punay, Pia Lee- Brago, Alexis Romero, Rhodina Villanueva, Mike Frialde, Perseus Echeminada, Cecille Suerte Felipe

China urges Phl to solve kidnapping cases By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 21, 2014 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus1 1

CHENGDU, Sichuan – Alarmed by reports of the rising number of Chinese citizens getting kidnapped or killed in the Philippines, Chinese diplomats in Manila are appealing to the Philippine government to act swiftly on the matter and ensure punishment for perpetrators.

The Chinese embassy in Manila relayed its concerns to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine National Police.

Embassy officials held a dialogue with anti-kidnapping watchdog Citizens Against Crime and Corruption led by Teresita Ang-Sy to express their concerns over the safety of their nationals and help determine ways of protecting them while they are in the country.

“However, until now none of the killers have been arrested, none of the robbers have been arrested, none of the stealers have been arrested,” a Chinese foreign ministry official said in an interview.

The official could not say if ransom had been paid for the release of some of Chinese kidnap victims.

“We cannot provide information. What we are concerned about is the safety of our citizens,” the official added, stressing there was justification for the issuance of travel notice by the Chinese embassy in Manila for Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines.

“It’s our obligation to remind our people,” the official said.

Statistics culled from Jan. 1 to Sept. 18 this year by the Chinese embassy in Manila showed 12 separate kidnap-for-ransom incidents with 14 victims.

* Five of the victims were killed by captors and two were injured.

Records showed that 12 of the kidnap victims were from the mainland and two were from Hong Kong. The embassy also recorded 10 murder cases. There were also three robbery cases involving four citizens.

Twelve other Chinese tourists were victims in seven recorded cases of “stealing,” according to the embassy.

The incidents were mostly recorded in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, the embassy official added.

The embassy also recorded four drowning victims as well as traffic accidents that left two Chinese injured.

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

18 Chinese nationals die in 2014 while in PHL, sudden spike alarms China By AMANDA FERNANDEZ, GMA NewsSeptember 20, 2014 7:41am 3936 82 1 4043


INQUIRER.net STOCK PHOTO

CHENGDU CITY, China – Eighteen Chinese citizens have died so far this year in separate incidents in the Philippines. A Chinese official said the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Manila is alarmed by the development.

The embassy has stepped up coordination with the Philippine National Police and local anti-crime advocates.

In an interview with reporters in Chengdu, the Chinse foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at least four of the Chinese citizens died in accidents while the 14 others were killed in separate kidnapping and murder incidents.

"The Philippine government declared that it is safer in the Philippines, but we cannot feel it...In the past years, only 6 to 7 deaths average per year was recorded, but this year, it's not even the end yet, it's already 18," he said.

He added that they have also received reports of an alleged plan to attack the Chinese Embassy in Manila by a self-proclaimed anti-China group.

"There was even someone who wanted to attack the embassy. They wanted to bomb the embassy," he said. "So, it is our obligation to remind the Chinese to keep safe."

The official said the Chinese government has coordinated with local police and the Philippine National Police, and anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang-See, adding that no suspect has been arrested in connection to recent crimes against Chinese nationals.

Chinese tourists going to popular locations in the Philippines has also been a growing coordination concern with Philippine authorities.

"For tourism, Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, El Nido," said the Chinese official.

The Philippine government is expected to open a Consulate General in the capital city of Sichuan province in China within the next three years as more Chinese nationals want to visit the Philippines. — ELR, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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