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39 dead, 22 missing due to Typhoon Ulysses —military

The military has recorded 39 fatalities as a result of Typhoon Ulysses, which brought strong winds and heavy rain on Wednesday night that reminded many Luzon residents of 2009's Tropical Storm Ondoy.

The military is playing a key role in the search, rescue and retrieval operations of people affected by the disaster, which exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday morning

In a press briefing on Friday that saw Cabinet officials giving different figures as far as the number of casualties was concerned, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said only 14 fatalities were "LGU-verified."

"Kaya lang po nagkakaiba-iba ang casualty figures dahil subject ito to local government confirmation," he said.

Armed Forces chief General Gilbert Gapay said the 39 cadavers were recovered by the government's search, rescue, and retrieval (SRR) cluster, although Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said they would still have to verify this.

"Yung reported recovery of cadavers, we still have to verify kasi baka yung iba diyan hindi naman typhoon-related [ang ikinamatay]," Año said in the same briefing.

Año said so far the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has verified 14 fatalities from Ulysses.

Gapay said of the 39 bodies,  eight were retrieved by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Bicol, Calabarzon and Zambales. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), meanwhile, retrieved  three in Dasmarinas, Cavite, one in Bicol, and one in Ifugao, Benguet.

Included in the 39 were the 26 bodies retrieved by the Philippine National Police from six regions, including Metro Manila.

A total of 40 were injured and 22 are still missing, based on the records of the SRR cluster.

Gapay said soldiers rescued a total of 2,716 individuals in the National Capital Region, Rizal and Bicol region. He said troops also evacuated 11 injured persons.

"So all in all, our search, rescue (and) retrieval cluster saved 138,272 individuals," he said.

About 401,800 individuals have been evacuated due to Ulysses, which rendered 161 road sections and 58 bridges not passable to vehicles, according to Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in the same briefing.

Ulysses, the eighth to hit the Philippines in the past two months and 21st of the year, forced residents to scramble onto rooftops to await rescue after tens of thousands of homes were submerged.

Ulysses struck areas still reeling from Super Typhoon Rolly (Goni), the most powerful typhoon in the world this year, which killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes earlier this month. --KBK, GMA News