By Aaron Recuenco and Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Typhoon “Tisoy” (international name “Kammuri”) left a trail of destruction in the Bicol region and along its path as it headed towards Southern Tagalog Tuesday where it unleashed heavy rains and strong winds.
More than half a million people were forced to seek refuge in evacuation centers as “Tisoy” passed through Luzon and the Visayas.
Authorities said the strong weather disturbance also left homes and other structures damaged, roads impassable due to flooding and uprooted trees, and caused massive power outage in some of the areas along its path.
In Camarines Sur, 33-year-old Marco Paolo Ursua died after he was electrocuted while fixing the roof of his house on Monday morning.A defective wire reportedly fell on the roof and electrocuted the victim.
In Capiz, 27-year-old Dioluo Agam was believed to have drowned after he was swept by strong water current while crossing a bridge in Maaton town. The bridge was underwater when Agam crossed it. He was swept along with his motorcycle.
In Albay, 35-year old Bien Panis was injured after being hit by an uprooted tree in Polangui town.
In Lucena City, a police sergeant reportedly died when the motorcycle he was driving crashed due to slippery road on Monday night and was hit by a truck while he was trying to stand up.
READ MORE: ‘Tisoy’ unleashes violent winds, heavy rains
Typhoon “Tisoy” made landfall four times overnight as it hammered through Bicol Region and Southern Luzon, causing havoc and destruction on its way to the West Philippine Sea.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather specialist Benison Estareja said “Tisoy” has further weakened but remained a strong cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 195 kph. It reached its peak winds of 175 kph and gusts up to 240 kph prior to its landfall around 11 p.m. on Monday
Estareja said “Tisoy” has made landfall four times over Gubat, Sorsogon at 11 p.m. Monday; San Pascual, Burias Island, in Masbate at 4 a.m. Tuesday; Torrijos, Marinduque around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday; and Naujan, Oriental Mindoro at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
He noted that “Tisoy” is a generally fast-moving cyclone and could exit the landmass of Luzon between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday. Should it continue to move west, “Tisoy” will already be outside the country’s area of responsibility by Thursday.
Signal No. 3 remains hoisted over the southern portion of Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, including Lubang Island, Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna.
Signal No. 2 was still hoisted over Burias Island, Romblon, northern portion of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Metro Manila, Bulacan, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, southern Aurora, Rizal, the rest of Quezon including Polillo Islands, Calamian Islands, Zambales, Pangasinan, northen Aklan, and northern Antique.
Areas that remain under Signal No. 1 were southern Isabela, Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, La Union, Quirino, rest of Aurora, northern portion of Palawan, rest of Camarines Sur, Cuyo Islands, Masbate including Ticao Island, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, western portion of Northern Samar, northwestern portion of Samar, Capiz, Iloilo, the rest of Aklan, and the rest of Antique.
Work, classes suspended
Malacañang suspended work in government offices and classes in public and private schools at all levels in Metro Manila effective 12 noon Tuesday based on Memorandum Circular No. 73 issued by the Palace.
The work and class suspensions were made “upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRMMC) and in view of the continuing inclement weather brought by Typhoon Tisoy,” according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
Exempted from the work suspension are agencies involved in the delivery of basic and health services, disaster preparedness and response, and performance of other vital services. These agencies must continue with their operations and render the necessary services, Medialdea said.
The number coding scheme was also suspended Tuesday, starting at 12 noon, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta ordered at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday the suspension of work in all courts in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting at 12 noon. The suspension of work “in view of typhoon ‘Tisoy’ covers the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Tax Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and all lower courts in the NCR.
Chief Justice Peralta gave executive judges in courts outside the NCR the discretion to suspend work.
The House of Representatives also suspended work on Tuesday on the order of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the Executive Committee.
“With prior clearance from Speaker and upon consultation with Ex Com (Executive Committee), we’re suspending work today,” House Secretary General Atty. Jose Luis Montales said.
READ MORE: House suspends work on Tuesday
Stranded passengers, cancelled flights
Thousands of passengers were also left stranded due to cancelled flights and the prohibition for passenger ships to sail in various parts of the country.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) shut down the airport from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday, affecting a total of 504 flights.
Operations at all Ninoy Aquino International Airports (NAIA) terminals were suspended for 12 hours on Tuesday to ensure the safety of passengers and ground personnel, MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said.
In the Bicol region, a total of 4,104 people were stranded in various ports in Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, and Masbate. Most of the stranded passengers are in Sorsogon (3,681).
A total of 620 people, on the other hand, were stuck in ports and terminals in Western Visayas.
In Central Visayas, the regional police reported that a total of 1,083 passengers in different ports and terminals in the region — 237 are in Bohol; 296 in Cebu, and 550 in Cebu City.
In Eastern Visayas, a total of 1,871 are currently in various ports and terminals in Leyte, Southern Leyte, Ormoc City, and Northern Samar.
Typhoon “Tisoy” affected more than 300,000 hectares of rice farms and nearly 32,000 of corn fields across different regions.
A data from the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRM) showed that the total areas at risk due to Typhoon “Tisoy” stand around 316,462 hectares for rice and 31,622 hectares for corn from Regions III, IV-A, IV-B, V and VIII.
Crop at reproductive and maturing stages are more vulnerable to typhoon damage.
DA’s Field Programs Operational Planning Division Chief Christopher Morales said yesterday that the DA is scheduled to release soon an update as to how much damage the agriculture sector had so far incurred because of the typhoon.
NGCP ready for calamities
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Tuesday assured the public that an emergency restoration system is in place during times of calamities.
“We can erect one tower without heavy equipment, with only our line personnel in the middle of a mountain, or in the middle of a field and we can do that, one or two line personnel a day,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.
“We’ve been monitoring it for the last couple of days. We’ve been on 27/7 monitoring release of regular updates,” she added/
Alabanza said that Meralco lines will be the most affected by the typhoon.
“Many of our lines go into that [Meralco franchise] areas, that’s Quezon, Bicol, Batangas, Bataan. These are the areas that are critical and that we’re watching,” she said.
READ MORE: NGCP ready for calamities
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso ordered the pre-emptive evacuation of coastal barangays in the nation’s capital in preparation for Typhoon “Tisoy.”
Residents from Baseco, Islang Puting Bato, Aroma, and Happy Land will be housed in evacuation centers in Manila. The areas are coastal villages facing the risk of storm surges and strong winds from the typhoon.
Aside from the evacuation, the mayor also ordered the suspension of local government work on Tuesday. The suspension excludes social workers and emergency responders.
The biggest number of displaced people was reported in the Bicol region where “Tisoy” made a landfall late Monday evening, with 90,000 families or some 359,000 reported evacuees in Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Naga City, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
“Power outage was also reported in the entire province of Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon, and many parts of Camarines Sur,” said Sherrie Ann Balingit, information officer of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Bicol region.
OCD personnel are currently assessing the extent of the destruction left by “Tisoy” in the Bicol region.
At least 12,600 families, or 41,000 people, were also displaced in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon.
The power supply was cut in Macalelon, San Andres, Pitogo, and Gumaca; and 14 barangays in Atimonan, all in Quezon province, as some transmission lines and electric posts were toppled.
A total of 18,446 people from 4,434 families were also forced to flee their homes in Marinduque, Romblon, and the Mindoro provinces.
In Western Visayas, at least 1,800 individuals were moved to evacuation centers in several parts of the region, according to Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, director of the Western Visayas regional police.
In Central Visayas, at least 5,134 people were forced to vacate their homes and seek shelter in evacuation centers, according to Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon, the regional police director.
There were almost 300 evacuation centers set up in the entire region.
In Eastern Visayas, more or less 22,000 people were evacuated before and during the onslaught of “Tisoy,” according to Maj. Bella Rentuaya, spokesperson of the Eastern Visayas regional police.
Of the number, a total of 5,491 of them are in Leyte; 45 in Southern Leyte; 2,137 in Biliran; 11,577 in Samar; 748 in Eastern Samar; 951 in Tacloban City; and 1,043 in Ormoc City.
Operations of a total of 1,543 rolling cargoes, 126 vessels, and 63 motor bancas were also suspended while 234 vessels and 124 motor bancas took shelter as of Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard added.
Lieutenant Commander Jose Jacinto, Coast Guard Station Guimaras Station commander, announced that sea trips of fast crafts and roll-in, roll-out vessels at San Jose Wharf, Jordan, and MacArthur Wharf in Buenavista, Guimaras to Iloilo and vice versa have resumed their normal operations.
Sea voyage, however, was only allowed from sunrise to sunset and “the ship must arrive at the point of destination 30 minutes before sunset.”
(With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling, Betheena Kae Unite, MB Online, Rey G. Panaligan, Ariel Fernandez, Charissa M. Luci-Atienza, Erma R. Edera, Madelaine B. Miraflor, and Reuters)