PDRRMC lauds Camarinenses for the province’s zero casualty record
By Ana-Liza Macatangay
PILI, Camarines Sur --- The Camarines Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chaired by Governor Vincenzo Renato Luigi R. Villafuerte lauded the efforts and cooperation of all the punong barangays, local chief executives (LCEs), LDRRMOs and other disaster response teams for attaining zero casualty after Tropical Storm “Paeng” caused large watersheds to swell and flooded most of the province’s low-lying barangays.
As per PDRRMC, TS Paeng affected 41, 167 families / 166,446 individuals mostly living in vulnerable areas and coastal barangays. The early memorandum for forced evacuation did not necessitate rescue in flooded areas, as PDRRMC reiterated its “No Rescue After 6 PM” policy.
“We do not encourage rescue operations since there were prior memorandums like suspension of classes and work, and forced evacuation that would give ample time for the residents to prepare and keep themselves safe instead of endangering the lives of our responders, especially at the height of any disaster,” Environment, Disaster Management, and Emergency Response Office (EDMERO) Chief Luzena Bermeo stated in an interview with Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Camarines Sur.
Bermeo added that the life of a rescuer is as precious as everyone’s life.
“It’s unfair to put our rescuer’s life in danger just because some people chose not to heed the government’s call,” Bermeo said.
PDRRMC attended RDRRMC Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment and conducted its own Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment with LDRRMCs. Successive meetings with LDRRMOs were conducted for weather updates and situational reports.
Early preparedness measures
PDRRMC also directed 1,036 BDRRMCs and 36 C/MDRRMCs thru the early issuance of various directives to coordinate with their respective residents. As early as Oct.25, the Philippine Coast Guard already issued the No Sailing Policy which was followed by issuances on pre-emptive and forced evacuation, and suspension of classes and work.
Code white alert was also declared in all provincially-managed hospitals. The PDRRMC team also conducted an inspection and inventory of safe evacuation and Kabarangay shelters before the issuance of evacuation directives.
Activation of Hotlines, Infolinks
STS Paeng hotlines were activated and managed by PDRRMC Communications Team who worked 24/7 to ensure that all calls and advisories are sent to their recipients, particularly at the barangay level.
As part of its preparedness measure, CamSur PDRRMC set up Very High Frequency (VHF) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and High Frequency (HF) radio communication to ensure 24/7 updating and timely cascading of advisories to the barangays.
“We have activated our Communication Group, which is composed of 20 communicators whose task is to disseminate information and warning advisories down to 1,036 Punong Barangays and Iriga City MDRRMC and to 35 Local Government Units,” the EDMERO chief stated.
The provincial social media page was filled with updated postings regarding road advisories, flooded barangays and spillways, unpassable roads, weather updates, and tropical and cyclone bulletins, including water level and rainfall status monitoring thru DOST-PAG ASA.
TS Paeng’s adverse effect
A total of 25,317 families/ 100, 699 individuals temporarily sought refuge at various evacuation centers, mostly in schools, municipal designated evacuation areas, and other safe places as the heavy flooding affected 166 barangays and 31 out of 36 municipalities in the province.
As per DepEd Camarines Sur DRRM Unit partial report, a total of 537 classrooms and other facilities in 136 schools were used as evacuation centers and accommodated 2,362 families/ 8,105 individuals.
DepEd CS DRRM Unit Project Development Officer Dennis Mijares said that 3,050 learners were also accommodated in various schools-turned-evacuation centers when the pre-emptive evacuation was announced by the provincial government.
TS Paeng’s heavy downpour caused several landslide incidents in various parts of Camarines Sur.
Incidents of landslide were also reported in the following areas: Barangays Sta. Maria and Pagsangaan in Presentacion; Brgys. Adiangao, Colacling and Bangon in Lupi; Brgy. Sta. Cruz in Caramoan; Brgy. San Pedro in Goa and Brgy. Bical in Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
Motorists were also warned to take extra precautions as they traverse Lupi area as the continuous heavy rainfall aggravated the road slip at Brgy. Colacling along the Rolando Andaya Highway.
PDRRMC also immediately convened its members and activated Emergency Operation Centers and various clusters which include Response, Law and Order, Debris Clearing, Search, Rescue, and Retrieval (SRR), Emergency Telecommunications, Education, Management of the dead and the Missing and the Environment cluster.
The Del Gallego border control was activated on Oct. 27 after the Land Transportation Office Bicol Regional Office issued Memorandum Circular No.2022-008 suspending land travels bound for the islands of Masbate, Catanduanes, Visayas, and Mindanao due to STS Paeng.
A total of 36 roads and spillways in 20 municipalities were reported as not passable over the weekend. As of press time, five roads remain unpassable: Brgy. Mansalaya-Kinalangan spillway in Del Gallego; Brgy. Panaytayan-Panaytayan Nuevo in Ragay; Brgy. Macad in Pasacao;
Damaged spillway in Brgy. San Vicente in Ocampo and Brgy. Iyagan in Baao is still not passable to any kind of vehicle and Brgy. Sam Vicente –Bacolod in Bato, Camarines Sur.
Various damages to infrastructures amounted to P20,350,000.00 which include damages to flood control and slope protection; roads, bridges, and spillways; government facilities and other infrastructures, according to PDRRMC partial damage report.
Damage to Agriculture
TS Paeng left most of the farmers in a sorry state after partial damage to agriculture reached Php 472,893.523.23 which has affected 17, 275 farm workers and fisherfolk from various municipalities.
TS Paeng affected the livelihood of 16,587 rice farmers; 138 corn planters; 319 High-Value Crops producers; 231 fisherfolk and other livestock workers. (With reports from PDRRMC, PIA5/Camarines Sur)