‘Josie’, ‘habagat’ leave P1.2-B initial damage to Pangasinan

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan — Tropical Depression Josie, which intensified the southwest monsoon and caused torrential rainfall and flooding in Pangasinan, has left an initial damage of PHP700 million to agriculture and PHP500 million to infrastructure in the province.

Governor Amado Espino III, in a radio interview on Tuesday, said the initial damage to agriculture excludes the fishery industry, while the damage on properties could not be ascertained yet since many areas in the province are still submerged in flood.

Based on the report of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), as of 1 p.m. Tuesday, 303 barangays are still flooded and 2,323 families or 10,276 persons are still in evacuation centers.

“According to our PDRRMO head, the rainfall we experienced in the last four days amount to three months normal rainfall, and waters from upstream also go down to the river tributaries of the province, hence some areas had flash floods,” Espino said.

“Nonetheless, we are still thankful that TD Josie only brought heavy rainfall, but did not have strong winds or else we might have lost lives and more properties,” he added.

Espino said the provincial government is closely monitoring and coordinating with the San Roque Power Corp. as to the water level at the dam.

As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the water level at the San Roque Dam was at 268.78 meters above sea level (masl) against its 280 masl spilling level.

“The rise of the water level at the San Roque Dam slowed down yesterday within three to four hours. The water level rose by one meter but today, within three to four hours, the water elevated by .3 to .5 meters only,” the governor said.

The PDRRMO disclosed that there are reported casualties, but the deaths are being validated if they were disaster-related or not, Espino said.

“We have one incident in Mangatarem, a woman who tried to cross the creek on July 20 drowned. Another is a man from Infanta who also drowned but he was reported to be drunk,” the governor noted.

Five fishermen from Barangay Concordia Bolinao, who were reported missing, have been found alive in Ilocos Sur, he added.

Espino extended his gratitude to all the national government agencies involved in the rescue operations and monitoring, as well as the local government units of the province and of Ilocos Sur and La Union for their assistance to all Pangasinenses affected by the disaster.

He disclosed that for the first time, he missed watching the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte because of the calamity.

“I sent a letter to the Office of the President that I could not attend the SONA. Every year, I was there but now, it is better if I am here in our province,” Espino said. Hilda Austria/PNA-northboundasia.com