Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bulacan under state of calamity again for 3rd straight year

MALOLOS CITY—For the third straight year, the province of Bulacan is placed under the state of calamity.

This was announced on Saturday by Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado during his weekly radio program over Radyo Bulacan, a local radio station in this city.

However, Alvarado announcement of the state of calamity is followed by caution on local mayors not to over spend their calamity funds, which is equivalent to five percent of a local government unit’s annual budget.

The governor reminded mayors from 21 towns and three component cities in the province that calamity funds must be spent judiciously.

“It is only August and end of the year is far from over, there might be another calamity,” Alvarado said in vernacular.

He explained that placing the province under state of calamity is a way of helping Bulakenyos  to easily recover.

The governor said that declaration of state of calamity will allow employees to obtain calamity loans.

In 2011, Bulacan was placed under state of calamity after the onslaught of typhoon Pedring and Quiel, and in August last year when the province was inundated due to heavy southwest monsoon rains.

According to Board Member Michael Fermin, the state of calamity was declared as early as Thursday after the Sangguniang Panglalawigan issued approved a resolution.

The resolution is based on the urgent request of Alvarado on Wednesday citing damages in the province caused by flood spawned by typhoon Maring and intense rains brought by the southwest monsoon.

Records from the  Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that weeklong heavy rains and flooding left P116,509,373.82 damages in agriculture and fisheries in the province.

With regards to infrastructure, the PDRRMO cited reports from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) First Engineering District which estimated initial damage of P5.5-M on roads and other infrastructures.

The PDRRMO also reported that about hald of the 569 barangays in the province were inundated by one to four feet deep flood.

It left a total of 208,201 families of 952,038 individuals affected wherein a total of 7,790 families or 31,383 individuals were evacuated.

Heavy rains also caused dams in the province to discharge water, but as of yesterday morning, Engineer Precioso Punzalan of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said that they only discharging 151 cubic meters per second (CMS).

Punzalan explained that their water discharge will have minimal effect on villages at the downstream of the  Angat River.

For its part, the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (PRFFWC) said flooding in the coastal towns of Bulacan and Pampanga will continue to persist due to high tide and backflood from Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pampanga draining to Manila Bay.

Hilton Hernando, head of the PRFFWC said that affected towns includes Apalit, Macabebe, and Masantol in Pampanga, and the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy in Bulacan. Dino Balabo