PREEMPTIVE EVAC. Rescuers in Misamis Occidental province help residents in preemptive evacuation from Jan. 11-12, 2023 as rains brought by the low pressure area (LPA) have flooded communities anew. Several local government units in Northern Mindanao region have suspended classes due to the LPA. (Photo courtesy of MisOcc PDRRMO)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Local government units (LGUs) in Northern Mindanao region have suspended classes anew as rains brought by the low pressure area (LPA) continued Thursday.

In Misamis Occidental province, 14 LGUs suspended all class levels, while three LGUs suspended elementary up to the senior high school levels.

Several communities in the province have also experienced flooding where rescuers have evacuated residents.

A report from the Misamis Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center (DRRMC) showed that 19 families had been evacuated from Sinacaban town as of 11 p.m. Wednesday, together with several families in Jimenez municipality.

Earlier on the same day, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and secretaries of various government agencies visited Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental provinces to check the situation of LGUs that have been affected by flooding and landslides since Dec. 24, 2022 due to the shear line weather condition.

While in the two provinces, Marcos led the distribution of additional cash aid and food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Misamis Occidental Governor Henry Oaminal said Marcos' visit boosted the morale of residents in evacuation centers in Tudela and Clarin towns.

"The feedback from the affected families was that they are contented with our service to them because their needs were provided by the provincial government," he said.

As of Jan. 4, the province received more than PHP40.7 million worth of assistance from the DSWD.

Marcos was also supposed to visit Oroquieta City, the capital of Misamis Occidental, where thousands of families were also affected but had to divert going to Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental due to the LPA.

Lanao del Norte

Meanwhile, the municipality of Maigo in Lanao del Norte province also suspended classes based on the announcement of the Municipal DRRMC.

Maigo Mayor Rafael Rizalda said the suspension is based on PAGASA's "Orange" level warning on Thursday morning.

Likewise, Mayor Maminta Dimakuta of Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte, suspended classes on all levels since Wednesday.

The entire province was also affected by the LPA at the start of this month.

The provincial DRMM Office reported 95 damaged houses in five municipalities amounting to some PHP1.8 million.

Damage to infrastructure and other properties, meanwhile, were estimated at PHP12.9 million.

In agriculture, the damage was pegged at PHP259 million by the province’s agriculture and veterinary offices for high-value crops and livestock.

Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo encouraged LGUs to conduct Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis to ensure immediate and necessary help to affected residents.

Additional funds

Meanwhile, Charmaine Tadlas, the DSWD-Northern Mindanao (Region 10) information officer, said their office has requested an additional PHP5 million worth of standby funds for post-disaster relief operations.

"We requested replenishments of our existing standby funds for the procurement of additional relief goods. As of this time, we are following it up at the DSWD central office (in Manila)," she said in an interview.

Data from DSWD-10 showed that the regional agency has so far provided more than PHP76.2 million worth of assistance to 5,250 LPA-affected families.

During a command briefing with Marcos on Wednesday, Gingoog City Mayor Erick Cañosa said they have already received more than PHP16 million worth of aid from the DSWD-10 for its flood-hit residents.

"This was provided to 3,359 out of the 18,452 families through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program," he said.

Cañosa said the latest aid the local government received from DSWD-10 was PHP6.2 million worth of family food packs.

Gingoog City was the most affected LGU in Misamis Oriental during the flooding caused by the shear line on Dec. 24, 2022, which lasted until Dec. 25.

At least 45 of 79 barangays in the city were affected by floods, with 57,937 individuals affected.

Meanwhile, Marcos asked officials about the situation of the province and said priorities should be set on the rehabilitation and repair of infrastructure.

"The (Department of) public works will assess, and see how much the damage is and what we can do to repair it (immediately)," he said during the same briefing.

Marcos also led the ceremonial turnover of cash aid to 1,500 families in Gingoog City.

As of Jan. 9, a total of 35,002 families, or 143,697 individuals, were affected in Northern Mindanao.

There have been 42 reported casualties, with 26 dead and 16 injured. (PNA)