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By Jason Faustino

Palace releases P120.4 million

We’re even asking assistance now at this point from other government agencies and organizations

The government has shifted to high alert yesterday as southwest monsoon that submerged most of Metro Manila and parts of Luzon and the Visayas last Saturday is expected to continue based on monitoring of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Metro Manila, Batanes, Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Mimaropa will continue to experience monsoon rains until Wednesday, according to PAGASA.

The Palace released P120.4 million in relief funds to assist families affected by floods amid the unrelenting torrential rains the past two days.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said as of yesterday, P120.4 million was released by the Office of Civil Defense, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, local government units and non-government organizations.

Residents of these areas were also warned of possible flooding and landslides due to moderate to occasional heavy rains.

Southwest monsoon will also cause cloudy skies with scattered rains and thunderstorms over western Visayas and the rest of Luzon.

Roque said the funds went to provide help for flood victims in Regions I, III, VI, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region.

We are reminding the public to stay alert and safe. In areas where there are flooding, we are encouraging them to stay at evacuation centers prepared by your local governments.

According to Roque, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 961 areas were flooded in Regions I, III, VI, X, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Cordillera Administrative Region and National Capital Region.

Floodwaters were reported to have subsided in 762 areas in Luzon.

Evac held
Since Saturday, some Metro Manila residents were evacuated to higher ground or at evacuation centers.

Marikina City was almost entirely flooded as the Marikina River overflowed while the water dams in Bustos, Ambuklao, Binga and Magat opened their gates to prevent an overspill.

Roque advised residents to remain alert and stay at evacuation centers.

“We are reminding the public to stay alert and safe. In areas where there are flooding, we are encouraging them to stay at evacuation centers prepared by your local governments,” he said.

Roque added government agencies are coordinating with each other to ensure residents get the assistance or be rescued.

Marikina relives tragedy
It was like typhoon “Ondoy” all over again for several residents of Marikina City as uninvited floodwaters again entered into their homes.

More or less 3,000 individuals spent the night at evacuation centers.

The evacuation centers were praised by netizens as the local government unit quickly responded and created makeshift pods or tents for each family, providing them with privacy.

The river water level swelled up to a peak of 20.6 meters at around 10 p.m.
As of 4:50 p.m., Saturday, 528 families or 2,530 residents had sought shelter at seven evacuation centers.

Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said the local government had evacuated residents because officials expect Marikina River’s water level to breach 19 meters.

Assistance sought
Teodoro also sought assistance from the national government and other agencies.
“We’re even asking assistance now at this point from other government agencies and organizations,” he said.

“We learned from Ondoy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Marikina, like other cities, suspended classes today. This also included Manila, Makati, Caloocan, Navotas, Quezon City, Malabon, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pateros, San Juan, Pasay, Pasig, Taguig, Taytay, Rizal, Valenzuela City, Baliwag, Calumpit, Meycauayan and Malolos, Bulacan.

The evacuation centers were praised by netizens as the local government unit quickly responded and created makeshift pods or tents for each family, providing them with privacy.

Lingayen, Pangasinan, San Mateo and Rodriguez, Rizal also suspended classes.

Teodoro said some 100 schoolchildren were rescued.

Teodoro said the students of St. John Bosco Learning Center were attending a make-up class after previous ones had been suspended.

Hydrologist Richard Orendain was quoted on television as saying the Ambuklao Dam in Benguet opened all eight gates with a 6.5-meter opening while Binga Dam opened six gates with a nine-meter opening.

The Ipo Dam in Bulacan and the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan began releasing water on Sunday following the heavy rains the day before.

Orendain said the Ipo closed its gates at about 5 a.m. No updates were provided on the Bustos Dam, also in Bulacan.

But the San Roque Dam, the hydrologist said, continues to release water, although still in small amounts that should not be cause for alarm.

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