Ilocos Norte in state of calamity as damages reach P3.2 billion

General Roy A. Cimatu, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary and Gov. Imee Marcos

LAOAG CITY – Due to the aftermath of Typhoon “Ompong,” the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) declared Ilocos Norte to be under a state of calamity through Resolution No. 2018-49-265 at an emergency session this morning, September 17.

From last night’s figure of P2,347,250,000.00, damages in both agriculture and infrastructure have risen to P3,263,251,919.75, with the partial breakdown as follows:

Agriculture suffered P1.9 billion in losses, with P1,782,104,706.95 from rice crops alone: 9,000 hectares of farmland have been totally damaged, while 39,229.70 are partially damaged.

Meanwhile, fisheries suffered losses of P20,000.00.

Flood and river control structures (P745,320,000.00), provincial roads (P262,800,000.00) and national roads (P101,700,000.00) sustained the most damages in infrastructure.

Total damages in the sector amount to P1,378,340,000.00.

Of this total, P12,340,000.00 of infrastructural damages were incurred by provincial tourist centers and buildings, including several resorts in Pagudpud and the La Milagrosa Chapel in Badoc.

Governor Imee R. Marcos yesterday reported these damages and Ilocos Norte’s “zero-casualty” rate to President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his cabinet members in a closed-door meeting at the SP Session Hall.

Aside from the drastic impact on rice, she brought up problems with mango plantations: “We are a prime exporter of mangoes, together with Cagayan, and both of us lost a great number of trees. We’ve struggled with kurikong, the cecid fly that eats and has infected many of our trees.

“We’re anticipating that because of the weather, similar problems will occur,” the governor shared, adding, “We would like to request assistance for mangoes, because it’s really the iconic Filipino fruit, and we’re losing it.”

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol then assured Governor Marcos that they would send a team in a week’s time to help local mango growers implement biological controls against cecid flies.

They also discussed the provision and delivery of galvanized steel (GI) sheets, as well as assistance for cash-for-work and food-for-work programs in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In addition, Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor M. Briones pointed out that 110 schools in Ilocos Norte have been damaged to different extents, with an estimated loss of P117 million, and 80 of these schools flooded.

“We will send a team really to come here, kasi it’s not just repairing the schools; it’s not just cleaning them up; it’s the equipment inside of the schools – yung mga computer, mga microscope, libraries, and so on,” she said.

Governor Marcos also expressed her thankfulness to agencies that had spearheaded evacuation and rescue operations, such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

“Ompong” reached its peak strength in Ilocos Norte on Saturday, reaching Tropical Cyclone Warning System (TCWS) Signal No. 4 the night before. By 5:00a.m. on Sunday, all TCWS signals had been lifted. (PGIN-CMO)