KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 4 Dec) – Efforts to promote the agribusiness potential of Region 12 or Soccsksargen Region would suffer a blow now that the area has been included in storm warning signals, a business executive said on Tuesday.
“Unlike before, we could now no longer boast that our region is typhoon-free to attract investors in agribusiness,” said Ricardo Juliano, vice president for Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Juliano said corporate farmers would have to factor in their decision the reality that the region is no longer typhoon-free.
Rice farming would likely be affected although there are agribusiness ventures that could withstand onslaught of typhoons like oil palm and pineapple, he said.
Juliano also said that plane flights in Cotabato City have been suspended Tuesday because of the bad weather but planes were still flying out from General Santos City.
Typhoon “Pablo” (international name Bopha) made landfall over Baganga, Davao Oriental at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, with the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hoisting public storm signals in 24 of Mindanao’s 26 provinces.
For Region 12, public storm signal number 3 was declared in North Cotabato, number two for Sultan Kudarat and number 1 for South Cotabato and Sarangani, PAGASA said in its Severe Weather Bulletin Number Seven issued 5 a.m. today.
In this city, the regional seat of government, the weather was characterized by weak continuous rainfall since 5:30 a.m., with wind velocity remaining normal as of 10:55 a.m.
“This is the first time that a public storm signal has been hoisted in our area,” North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza said in a radio interview.
She said that classes were suspended in all school levels in North Cotabato because of Pablo and that the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (MDRRMC) have been closely monitoring the situation.
Soldiers and policemen have been deployed to riverbanks to monitor the water level, Mendoza said, adding they expect the volume of water to rise in the province since it is the outlet of waters from Bukidnon and Agusan provinces.
In South Cotabato, Gov. Arthur Y. Pingoy said disaster risk officials are also on alert for possible flashfloods and landslides.
He said classes have not been suspended although he is closely coordinating with the Department of Education.
Hilario de Pedro III, South Cotabato provincial administrator, said the Department of the Interior and Local Government has been issuing warning messages that they relayed to the MDRRMCs.
“We are on standby for any incident report and are ready for quick response actions,” said de Pedro, also the provincial disaster risk reduction officer. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)