Rescuers recovered five more bodies of fishermen killed when huge waves swamped their boats off the coast of Mariveles town in Bataan province at the height of Typhoon “Basyang,” raising the death toll to at least 37 people, with 46 others still missing.
Basyang (international code-name: Conson) moved farther away from the country after weakening into a tropical storm on Thursday, but rescuers continued to scour the heavy seas in search for fishermen whose boats capsized or went missing off the provinces of Bataan, Catanduanes and Camarines Norte.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) lifted all storm signals, saying Basyang was not likely to return to the country because of the presence of a high-pressure area in Taiwan.
States of calamity were declared in the provinces of Cavite and Laguna.
The fatalities were mostly from areas south of Metro Manila. Most of them either drowned or were crushed by trees or walls toppled by Basyang’s strong winds of 120 kilometers per hour on Tuesday night.
Millions of people remained without power after electricity for nearly the whole of Luzon was cut off because of the storm.
A total of 9,511 people sought refuge in 54 evacuation centers in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol and Metro Manila, according to Benito Ramos, executive director of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC). But 7,545 have yet to leave, he said.
Two Navy trucks transported over 400 bags of relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to Daet, capital town of hard-hit Camarines Norte.
The NDCC reported at least 46 missing people, mostly in Catanduanes, and placed damage to roads, schools and crops at over P23 million.
“I think the figures would still go up because information from the ground don’t come to us immediately and because there are still technical descriptions that are being made by engineers of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” Ramos told reporters in a briefing at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Ramos reported at least 26 dead, but reports gathered by the Philippine Daily Inquirer listed five more in Bataan, three in Cavite, two in Quezon and one in Catanduanes.
At least five fishermen were killed and 23 others were still missing as three boats that sought refuge off Balesin Island in Quezon province were still battered by strong winds and huge waves in Lamon Bay.
Col. Generoso Bolina, spokesperson of the Southern Luzon Command based in Camp Nakar in Lucena City, identified the boats as the FB Godswill I and FB Godswill II, both owned by one Laarni Ramos; and the FB Joan owned by Eric Torsar.
The vessels had a total of 46 crew members who were all based in Atimonan town in Quezon. Eighteen survived the sea ordeal.
In Bataan, police found the bodies of two fishermen working as crew of the sunken Alicia AC on the shore of Barangay Poblacion in Mariveles, according to Senior Supt. Arnold Gunnacao, Bataan police chief. The victims were identified by relatives as Joven Aban, 30, and Leoncito Umpad, 32.
Earlier, two other boat workers—Alex Perpenia and Apad Capellan—were found dead.
Also in Mariveles, the bodies of two crew members of the fishing boat Rick Mill Roy that sank early Wednesday were recovered in Sitio San Jose in Barangay Alas-asin, at 2 p.m. They were identified as Rodolfo Bustamante, 60, and Rodrigo Dualan, 57, both of Naic town in Cavite.
A fisherman discovered the body of a still unidentified man at 5:45 a.m. on the shore of Roman Boulevard, also in Poblacion.
On Wednesday, in nearby Limay town, fishermen found the body of Efren Ledesma on the shore of Barangay Lamao. Ledesma, 59, was the captain of the motor tanker Deborah-Uno that sank off Petrochem’s Batangas Dos port in Mariveles.
Carrying liquefied petroleum gas tanks, the tanker owned by Grand Asian Shipping went out of control after its steering wheel broke.
Ledesma had ordered everyone to jump out together. He lost consciousness and drowned after his head hit a section of the vessel, a report said.
His crew, made up of Jessie Almario, Rolando Villones, Victor Glenn Marispoque, Dennis Ramos, Arcel Fernandez, Jorlan Dupio, Mario Francisco and Marvin Espino, survived and stayed with the Coast Guard stationed in Lamao.
At Barangay Lucanin in Mariveles, Coast Guard personnel rescued on Wednesday Edgar Garcia, Eduardo Tolentino and Pedro Transmil after their fishing boat, Angelica Berna, sank. Twelve other crew members remained missing.
Strong waves destroyed at least eight fishing boats that sought refuge in the cove of Mariveles on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, it was learned.
In Camarines Sur, four people were reported lost in Barangay Mapid in Lagonoy town.
At Jose Panganiban town in Camarines Norte, nine of the 10 reported missing people were rescued on Butuanan Island in Siruma, Camarines Sur. The survivors were crew members of a large fishing boat which ventured out to the open sea on July 12 from Camarines Norte.
According to a report from the Public Information Office of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, the survivors were suffering from hypothermia and brought to the municipal district hospital, Siruma Mayor Sandy Ondis said.
They were transferred to Bicol Medical Center in Naga City for further treatment, said Maj. Harold Cabunoc, spokesperson of the 9th Infantry Division based in Camp Elias Angeles in Pili, Camarines Sur.
Army soldiers in motorized bancas joined the Philippine Navy’s patrol crafts and two helicopters from the Philippine Air Force in trying to find more survivors.
Two persons who were reported missing were rescued in Malilipot town in Albay province.
In Catanduanes, fishermen plucked out the body of Gilberto Baynosa, 25, in the waters off Palumbanes Island, Cabunoc said. Baynosa was brought to the Pandan District Hospital for autopsy.
Damage to infrastructure
Schools reopened after being forced to close on Wednesday, and Metro Manila’s overhead railway service was back to normal.
Eight state-run high schools in Bicol incurred P3.2 million in damage, while crops valued at P1.4 million were lost in 941 hectares of farmland in several towns in Laguna.
Ramos said Sinisian Bridge along the Palico-Balayan-Batangas Road was windswept, while road slips were detected near Diokno Highway and Tayabas-Mainit-Mauban Road in Batangas. Damage was pegged at P15 million.
Damage to Manus Bailey Bridge along Labangan Murtha Junction Iriron Road in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, was estimated at P585,000.
In a report submitted to the NDCC, the Department of Education noted P4.86 million in damage to 23 government-run schools.
Cost of damage to six schools in Rizal and Laguna was pegged at P580,000; two in Mimaropa region, P1 million; and eight in Camarines Norte, P3.2 million. Only one school in Muntinlupa City was reported to have been damaged.
Total damage to infrastructure and agriculture was placed at P74.27 million, according to NDCC.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla said in a phone interview that P10 million of the province’s calamity fund would be used to repair the damage left by the typhoon to agriculture and infrastructure.
About 80 houses were destroyed, according to Alvin Mojica, Cavite social welfare and development officer. Under the province’s shelter assistance program, families who lost the roofs of their homes will receive P1,000 to P3,000 through the municipal welfare offices, depending on the extent of damage.
About 700 families, mostly from Noveleta and Rosario towns, who fled from flash floods, have returned to their homes.
Laguna was placed under a state of calamity after all of its 26 towns and four cities reported damage.
Gov. Jeorge E.R. Estregan Ejercito said the province lost P47 million worth of rice and high-yielding crops, P33 million worth of fisheries and P3.9 million in infrastructure.
In Pangasinan, the town mayors of Villasis and neighboring Rosales asked the national government to cement the newly built portions of the dike along Agno River, saying the earth dike could easily give way once heavy rains come.
Villasis Mayor Libradita Abrenica said residents had not overcome the trauma they suffered when the town was submerged in meters-deep water in October last year when the San Roque Dam released water at the height of Typhoon “Pepeng.”
The breached dikes have been repaired, but they have no stronger protection such as a concrete layer or a gabion so they can easily be washed out by rain or river water, Abrenica said.
There are two portions of the dike along Lipay village (one along Puelay and one along Amanperez) which have been restored by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
“But these were not properly done. We have asked the flood control office several times to put boulders and gabions along the side, especially on the side of the river, to hold the soil,” Abrenica said.
In Rosales, Mayor Ricardo Revita said heavy rain has been eating through the new dikes because they are still loose. “But that is the concern of the Agno flood control office,” he said.