18 power transmission lines still down in typhoon Rolly’s aftermath

EIGHTEEN power transmission lines have yet to be restored from the impact of typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni), according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). In an advisory sent via Viber on Wednesday morning, the private-led grid operator said half of the affected lines are in the southern Luzon area. NGCP also reported that two lines in Naga City, Camariñes Sur have been restored. Teams from around the country have been deployed to the typhoon-affected areas to hasten damage assessment and restoration works, NGCP said. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy and National Electrification Administration said they have yet to fully evaluate the power situation in all the affected regions. However, Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola, in a press briefing on Wednesday morning, reported that several power plants are already back online. “Moving forward, towards the rest of the week and even next week, we don’t expect any issues in the supply (for the) entire Luzon,” he said. Rolly, the world’s strongest typhoon so far this year and the 18th to enter the Philippines, swept through the southern part of Luzon and neighboring islands, making four landfalls on Nov. 1. Around two million people were affected, according to the national disaster management council. The Department of Social Welfare and Development reported on Wednesday that it has so far released P8.3 million worth of relief goods, apart from those distributed by local governments. Other government agencies, humanitarian organizations, and non-government groups have also been undertaking relief and recovery operations. — Angelica Y. Yang and Gillian M. Cortez

Slow-moving Siony intensifies into a severe tropical storm

THE slow-moving Siony  (international name: Atsani) intensified into a severe tropical storm category as of Wednesday afternoon and is expected to affect the extreme northern part of the country until Friday. Wind signal #1 was up in the northeastern portion of Cagayan province and the eastern portion of Babuyan Islands. Weather bureau PAGASA said Siony could further strengthen into a typhoon before making landfall between Thursday evening and Friday morning “over or very close to the Batanes and Babuyan Islands.” Typhoon Rolly, which exited the Philippine area Tuesday evening, was also still affecting parts of Luzon, along with the northeasterly winds. “The combined effects of the northeasterlies and the trough of Siony will bring light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Bicol Region, Aurora, Quezon, and the eastern portions of Cagayan and Isabela,” PAGASA said in its 5 p.m. bulletin on Wednesday. Siony is forecasted to be out of the country by Friday evening.

Military recovers Abu Sayyaf boat, weapons


THE MILITARY has recovered the boat used by the seven Abu Sayyaf members who were killed by government forces Tuesday morning at the Sulu Sea, off Sulare Island. “The boat was cut in half with only the front portion remaining afloat while the rear must have sunk during the ramming by the navy ship-BA493,” Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., head of the Western Mindanao Command, said in a statement Tuesday evening. Various weapons and gadgets were also recovered from the damaged boat, including M4 rifles and M14 short magazines. Maj. Gen. William N. Gonzales, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu that led the operation against the Islamic State-allied bandit group, said air, naval, and ground forces are continuing with retrieval operations. One of the seven killed was identified as Madsmar Sawadjaan, brother of terror bomber Mundi Sawadjaan, and another was Mannul Sawadjaan, also known as Abu Amara and is reportedly the successor of Abu Sayyaf senior leader Hajan Sawadjaan who was recently killed. The five other casualties have yet to be identified. Mr. Vinluan, in an earlier statement, said intelligence reports indicate the group was planning to conduct kidnapping activities in mainland Mindanao. The Abu Sayyaf has been notorious for kidnap-for-ransom operations, victimizing both locals and foreigners. Their last captive, an Indonesian, was rescued by government forces in January this year. With ties to international extremists, Abu Sayyaf members have also been involved in deadly bombings Jolo, the capital of Sulu, in January 2019 and August 2020.

Occidental Mindoro declares state of calamity

THE OCCIDENTAL Mindoro provincial government has declared a state of calamity due to typhoon Quinta (international name: Molave), which left 23 people dead, 39 injured and six missing across five regions. The province was also affected by the typhoon that followed, Rolly (international name: Goni), but not with heavy rains or strong winds. In a statement Tuesday evening, the office of Governor Eduardo B. Gadiano announced that the state of calamity declaration has been signed by the provincial board. With the declaration, the local government will be able to tap into its emergency fund for relief and recovery operations as well as freeze prices of basic goods.

ARTA sends warning to barangay officials as it files complaint vs Bulacan chief

THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) warned community-level officials against violating the law on ease of doing business as it filed a complaint against a barangay chair in Bulacan. ARTA lodged the complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the head of Barangay Loma de Gato in Marilao, Bulacan, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. ARTA said the case is based on its investigation arising from a grievance that the official was imposing additional requirements and costs to government processes. The barangay has also failed to meet the July deadline for the submission of its new charter. “Cases shall continue to be filed against officials who will continue to do red tape. We are calling on Barangay Officials, do not ask more than what is required,” ARTA Director-General Jeremiah B. Belgica said. BusinessWorld has yet to receive a response on its request for comment from the Loma de Gato official. — Jenina P. Ibañez