Typhoon Maring good for farms, but displaces more than 2,000 families

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TROPICAL DEPRESSION Maring, the 13th typhoon to hit the country this year, caused “very minimal” damage to the agriculture sector, according to Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, and the heavy downpour would actually be good for the farms as dams have been filled and ready for irrigation purposes.

Mr. Piñol told reporters yesterday that the only damage report he received so far was on a 364-hectare farm in Region IV-A — or Calabarzon covering the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon — with an estimated value of P36 million.

“The tropical depression actually (was) more beneficial than destructive because bumuhos yung ulan at nagkatubig uli ang mga (rain really poured and that put water in the) dams. We’re expecting that this will be a good development with the onset of the dry season planting,” the agriculture chief said.

The dry season cropping in the Philippines starts November.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said government agencies continue to monitor the situation in areas most affected by the typhoon.

“The National Government, through our frontline disaster response agencies, remains on standby to respond and assist victims in Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), IV-A, V (Bicol), and NCR (National Capital Region),” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said in a statement.

As of Sept. 13, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that 2,103 families were affected, of which 1,857 are staying at 116 evacuation centers.

The Department of Health also prepositioned about P20 million worth of logistical supply in its regional offices, and has about P50 million at the Central Office.

Typhoon Maring maintained its strength as it exited the Philippines. It was forecasted to be out of the country’s area by late Wednesday or Thursday morning, Sept. 14.

Weather bureau PAGASA said the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, and Batangas would still experience light to moderate with occasionally heavy rains during thunderstorms, while sea travel remains risky over the western seaboards of central and southern Luzon.

The Department of Energy (DoE), for its part, reported yesterday that typhoons Maring and Lannie, which passed through further north of the country, did not cause major damages on power infrastructure.

In a statement, the DoE said all power generation plants within the paths of the two typhoons were running under normal condition.

Power transmission facilities and services were reported to be normal as of 7:00 a.m. Wednesday following restoration work by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

The transmission lines that experienced trippings were: Batangas-Bolboc 69kV line affecting parts of Batangas City and Bauan in Batangas; Gumaca-Lopez-Tagkawayan 69kV line affecting parts of Quezon I Electric Cooperative (QUEZELCO 1); La Trinidad-Mankayan-Sagada 69kV line affecting the Benguet Electric Cooperative customers (BENECO); and the Olongapo-Cawag 69kV line affecting Zambales II Electric Cooperative (ZAMECO II)

In the franchise area of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the firm reported that knee-deep to chest-deep flooding, strong winds and heavy downpour caused momentary and sustained outages to 5.6% of its total circuits, affecting 639,574 customers.

Meralco explained that most of the trippings were due to soil erosion, fallen trees and foreign objects.

As of 9:00 a.m. yesterday, Meralco said restoration of power was ongoing for 3,025 households, including 1,482 customers in Bulacan. — Janina C. Lim and Rosemarie A. Zamora