Cordillera Most Ravaged by Pepeng

Northern Dispatch

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera region incurred most of the damages in Northern Luzon with 309 dead and P1.398 billion of damaged infrastructures and agriculture caused by typhoon Pepeng.

As of Friday, there are 309 recovered dead, 139 injured, and 30 missing, according to Director Olive Luces of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (CRDCC).

From the 309 death toll, Benguet has the highest record while Baguio City and Mountain Province followed. Ifugao and Abra have one death each while Kalinga recorded two.

Meanwhile, the remaining victims in Little Kibungan in Puguis, La Trinidad were buried Friday. Rescue operations continue in La Trinidad and Mankayan. The seven corpses last recovered in Sitio Bulala, Kayan East, Tadian, Mountain Province were buried Wednesday, October 14 where elders performed a community cleansing ritual, called daw-es, after, Georgia Velasco, a resident of Kayan East said.

Infra damaged

While the DPWH-CAR, private contractors, and volunteers clear in the clearing of various roads still closed in the region, the CRDCC pegged the worth of damaged infrastructure in the region at P 577.300 million as of October 15.

Damaged to infrastructure are reported as follows: roads, P 211.606 million; bridge, P0.66 million; public school, P149.1 million; irrigation, P178.15 million, private property, P2.77; other agricultural infrastructure, P35.014 million.

The roads damaged in the provinces and this city are recorded by the CRDCC as follows: Benguet, P40.95 million; Mountain Province, P22.861; Baguio City, P21.05; Kalinga, P33.3 million; Apayao, P34 million; Ifugao, P48.675 million; and Abra, P5.27 million.

Meanwhile, the three roads leading to this city – Marcos Highway, Naguilian Road, and Kennon Road are open. Marcos Highway and Naguilian which were opened on Tuesday are open for both two lane traffic while Kennon Road remains for one lane only.

The Bontoc-Banaue Road was opened on Tuesday. Halsema Highway remains closed due to various slides but the DPWH-CAR targets its opening next week.

Agricultural damage

The damages to agriculture has been pegged by the CRDCC as of October 15 to be P821.4984 million but the regional office of the Department of Agriculture has put it to P 1,153,188,693.28.

According to the CRDCC, the P821.4984 million is itemized on the following: corn, P229.4684 million; rice, P247.813 million; HVCC, P322.8586 million; livestock, P11.800 million; and, fishery, P9.5584 million.

As to provincial damage on agriculture, they are distributed as follows: Abra, P112.1528 million; Apayao, P388.28 million; Benguet, 113.371; Ifugao, P5.678 million; Kalinga, P172.0571 million; and, Mountain Province, P29.9595 million.

The DA-CAR in a media report cites that the agricultural damaged caused by typhoon Pepeng is pegged at P1,153,188,693.28 but excluding damage on fisheries, post harvest and irrigation facilities.

Power, telecommunication

Electricity has been restored in Baguio City, except some parts of Marcos Highway and Crescencia Village, according to Leo Belingon of Beneco.

Belingon also said that the Benguet towns of Itogon, Tuba, and Bokod have electricity while the northern Benguet towns of Tublay, Atok, Kapangan, Kibungan, Kabayan, Bugias, Bakun and Mankayan have no electricity. The restoration of power in these northern Benguet towns is dependent on the opening of Halsema Highway as at least 70 Beneco electric poles in these areas were affected by landslides, pointed Belingon.

There is yet no electricity in Mountain Province as of press time. All telecommunications were restored and functioning, according to the CRDCC.

Relief operations

CRDCC claims that typhoon Pepeng affected 52,225 families or 256,636 individuals in the region. Existing evacuation centers are lowered to 235 from the 1,033 during the height of the typhoon. Seven of these evacuation centers are located in La Trinidad, Benguet.

There were 763 totally damaged houses in the region while 4,895 classified as partially damaged. In Mountain Province, the damaged as to house are 18 totally damaged while five were partially damaged.

Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Sunday distributed relief with few families at the Mansion House. From the 20 families who sought refuge on Saturday, October 10 at the Mansion House, 16 left on Sunday while remaining four families were in the area when this reporter interviewed the evacuees there.

A United Nations assessment team arrived at La Trinidad on October 14 to talk with the local officials as to the extent of damages and support that they need. The team also carried relief from the World Food Program and the UNICEF. The CDRCC claimed that relief was airlifted to Kapangan, Kibungan, Ansagan in Tuba, Bokod, and Mankayan.

Even non-government organizations helped in the relief in this city, Benguet and Mountain Province. The Serve the People Brigade distributed relief in La Trinidad, Tublay, Itogon where they need to walk for lengthy distance to reach the waiting residents. There mostly youth volunteer also helped in the road clearing operations particularly in Itogon and Tublay. (Arthur Allad-iw / Northern Dispatch)

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