8 dead as ‘Ompong’ rips through North Luzon

Sep. 16, 2018

MANILA , Philippines – Typhoon Ompong made landfall in Baggao, Cagayan on Saturday, by 1:40 a.m., and has left a trail of destruction and eight persons dead before leaving the Philippine area of responsibility.

The Office of Civil Defense Administrator Ricardo Jalad said two responders from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) died during rescue operations.

In Metro Manila, a body of a nine to 12 year old girl was found floating on the Marikina river, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) Spokesperon S/Supt. Benigno Durana.

Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said two residents of Barangay Bakakeng Central were killed in a landslide. A landslide in Itogon claimed the lives of three family members.

According to the latest bulletin from Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Ompong was located about 355 kilometers west of Calayan, Cagayan.

Although Ompong has left the country, storm signal warnings are still raised in some areas. Provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union are still under Signal No. 3.

Batanes, Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands, Abra, Apayao, Kalinga, Mountain Provinces, Ifugao, Benguet, Pangasinan, Zambales, are under Signal No. 2; while Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan are under Signal No. 1.

Pagasa said that if Ompong maintains its speed, the agency may bring down the storm signals by Sunday.

Presidential presence

During the command conference, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is monitoring the situation in Manila.

“He’s in Manila, he did not leave, and is monitoring. Knowing him, he will be the first to go to the affected areas as soon as the weather will allow his choppers to take off,” Roque said during the morning conference.

Later that day, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte will fly to Ompong-stricken areas, as per Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

“I talked with Secretary Bong Go in our program Radyo Pilipinas, and he said that when CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) gives the green light to fly, the President will go to areas affected by the typhoon,” he said.

Damage to roads

In the afternoon briefing, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar told reporters that several roads in CAR have been closed due to damages brought by landslides.

“We have 19 road sections closed, including Kennon Road, and at this point, the section in Tuba along Marcos Highway is also closed. Motorists going to or from Baguio can only use Naguilian Road,” Villar said.

He added that the department is moving to clear the roads, which may be passable by Sunday noon.(davaotoday.com)

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