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Typhoon 'Paeng' weakens but casualties rise; 3 dead, 3 hurt

October 30, 2006 9:37am
Super-typhoon Paeng continued to weaken on Monday morning but the death toll in northern Luzon rose to at least three after a teenager reportedly drowned near the Cagayan River.

Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca confirmed receiving information about the incident. The victim, however, has yet to be identified.

"The fatality was from Cauayan City in Isabela, when the Cagayan River overflowed ... Heavy rains have been falling since Wednesday last week," Padaca said in an interview on dzRH radio.

Also on Monday morning, a flying sheet of galvanized iron crushed a 28-year-old mother and her six-year-old son in Aurora province.

Radio station dzBB identified the fatalities as Jocelyn Biares and her son Ian.

Senior Superintendent Teodoro Saclolo, provincial police chief, said the two were killed in "low-lying" Dimaseset village, Dilasag town.

He said about 40 percent of houses in the village have been destroyed, while the roofs of some structures were ripped off by the typhoon's strong winds.

A mother and her two children, meanwhile, were injured during a landslide in Baguio City.


The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) identified the wounded as Marilyn Medina and her two daughters Danica, 8, and Angelica, 5.

Senior Superintendent Carlito Rivero of the BFP Directorate for Operations said the three sustained minor injuries and were rushed to the Baguio General Hospital.

He said in an interview on dzBB radio that the landslide happened at the "clifftop area of Baguio City."

As this developed, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council in Ilocos reported that at least 31 children were rescued from a welfare center in Aringay town in La Union.

Radio station dzXL quoted reports reaching the NDCC as indicating rescuers saved the children from floods that threatened the center.

Also rescued were eight teenagers, nine adults and four kitchen staff of the International Summer Village at Samara village, Aringay, La Union.

Most cellphone services were down in Isabela, even as the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said they are trying to restore communication lines.

Paeng rendered at least six provinces in Northern and Southern Luzon without power, as it forced the local National Transmission Co. (Transco) to cut power to three main lines.

Rendered without electricity because of the shutdown were Quirino, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, and part of Cagayan. A sixth province, Aurora, was rendered without power in Southern Luzon.

A Transco engineer said the lines that were shut down included the 69-kilovolt Santiago-Aglipay line supplying power to Quirino province; the 69-kilovolt Baymobong-Lagawe line supplying power to Ifugao; and the Tuguegarao-Solana-Taguk line supplying power to Kalinga, Apayao, and part of Cagayan.

Opened dam

Authorities have also opened Gate 1 of the Magat Dam in Isabela to prevent water from overflowing.

The opening of the dam affected least eight towns, including Ramon, San Mateo, Cabatuan, Aurora, Luna, Burgos, Reina Mercedes, and Gamo.

Madela town in Quirino province was cut off from neighboring areas after surging waters destroyed the town's main bridge.

In Central Luzon, OCD regional head Neri Amparo said there was no power in Aurora province. She said this hampered communication lines in the area.

Radio station dzMM quoted bus dispatchers in Tarlac province as saying floodwaters have begun to rise along the main highway in Paniqui town.

Floodwaters have also begun to rise in Sison town in Pangasinan province in the Ilocos region, it said.

Journey to north

Bus companies in Metro Manila on Monday continued to dispatch buses to northern Luzon despite an order from Malacañang banning travel there.

Dispatchers claimed they had no "advisory" that the roads to Northern Luzon had been blocked, but state weather forecasters warned that the possibility of landslides remains high.

"Just because the eye of the typhoon is moving away from Philippine territory does not mean the danger is over. There is still the danger of landslides. That's why we are appealing to riders not to take the bus for now," said Nathaniel Cruz, the government's chief weather forecaster during an interview on dzBB radio.

Earlier, several bus companies with terminals in Metro Manila continued to send buses at 20- to 30-minute intervals to areas like Tarlac, Baguio and Isabela.

Radio reports indicated that the buses were coming from Partas, Victory Liner and Philippine Rabbit, which maintain terminals in Pasay City and Manila.

Reynaldo Pamintuan, a dispatcher of Philippine Rabbit in Manila, was quoted by dzMM radio as saying that their staff were "well-coordinated" in Dau and Angeles (Pampanga), Alaminos (Pangasinan), Tarlac and Baguio.

However, dzBB radio reported that in some terminals in Pasay City, passengers themselves chose to cancel their trips.

Calmer afternoon

Classes and work in nonessential government offices were ordered suspended in areas under Storm Signals 1, 2 and 3 due to typhoon "Paeng."

Paeng weakened after making landfall Sunday night and is making its way out of the country towards the South China Sea.

The typhoon has crossed the Cordillera mountain range and hovered over the coast of La Union in northern Luzon, state weather forecasters reported.

Pagasa last spotted Paeng some 130 km northwest of Baguio City or 140 km southwest of Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

Paeng now carried weaker winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

However, it was moving west at a faster pace of 19 kph.

Storm Signal 3 is in effect over Ilocos Sur, La Union, western Pangasinan and northern Zambales.

Storm Signal 2, meanwhile, was hoisted over Ilocos Norte, Abra, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Benguet, the rest of Pangasinan, Tarlac and the rest of Zambales.

Pagasa declared Storm Signal 1 over the Batanes group of islands, Cagayan, Calayan Island, Apayao, Kalinga, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Aurora, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

Residents in the affected areas were warned against possible flashfloods and landslides. Public storm signal warnings in other areas were lowered.

The weather disturbance is expected to be located some 470 km west southwest of Dagupan City or 440 km west northwest of Iba, Zambales by Tuesday morning.

Come Wednesday morning, Paeng is expected to hover withing 770 km southwest of Iba, Zambales or 760 km west northwest of Coron, Palawan.-GMANews.TV