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‘Usman damage reaches P4.2 billion’

Damage to agriculture and infrastructure caused by Tropical Depression “Usman” reached P4.2 billion, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Monday.

Damage to infrastructure was worth P3.3 billion, while destroyed agricultural produce climbed up to P984.7 million.

The assessment report included Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon); Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa); Bicol, and Eastern Visayas.

At least 126 people were killed, 30 of them from Bicol, particularly in Sagñay, Camarines Sur, where landslides occurred.

While 26 persons remained missing, 75 persons were injured, officials said.

“Usman” directly affected 150,877 families or 675,777 individuals in more than 900 barangays.

According to the NDRRMC, over 13,000 families or 58,000 individuals were still in various evacuation centers.

Some P55.2-million assistance was extended to Mimaropa, Bicol and Eastern Visayas. 

In a related development:

• Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said geohazard maps were readily available for authorities to be able to identify areas vulnerable to floods and landslides.

He said under Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, governors and mayors had been tasked to chair local disaster risk reduction and management councils at the provincial, city and municipal levels. 

On the other hand, the councilors were responsible for disaster management and risk reduction plans to minimize, if not totally prevent, casualties during calamities.

“The DENR for its part contributes to disaster risk reduction efforts through the geohazard maps which the Mines and Geosciences Bureau distributes to all LGUs so they can identify landslide and flood-prone areas,” Cimatu said.

Meanwhile, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino urged the government to quickly address the latest increase in prices of goods due to Usman.

He also called on the government to deal with the projected rise in cost of petroleum products from the expected increase in fuel prices in the world market along with the additional excise tax on fuel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law. 

“The government should immediately act to ease the burden of our countrymen with the new increase in prices of commodities and petroleum products,” said Aquino, one of four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.

“Our poor countrymen are in pitiful condition due to double whammy with typhoon Usman and additional taxes on petroleum products,” said Aquino.

He demanded a halt on the implementation of an excise tax on petroleum products.

The senator said the government should be sensitive to the plight of consumers and poor Filipinos, expected to carry the additional burden of high prices of goods due to the latest levy on oil products under the TRAIN Law.

While the prices of basic commodities are to go down, he said there was an immediate increase on petroleum products. With Macon Ramos-Araneta

Topics: Tropical Depression “Usman” , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council , Roy Cimatu
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