Bukidnon placed under state of calamity

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 17 January) – The Provincial Board of Bukidnon on Tuesday declared a state of calamity covering the entire province over the devastation brought by tropical storm “Vinta,” estimated at P583.96 million.

The board adopted the resolution passed by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) on January 8 recommending the declaration.

Coffee farmers in Barangay Kaato-an, Lantapan, Bukidnon. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

National roads and bridges sustained the biggest damage at P380.3 million, followed by agriculture at P109 million, local infrastructure at P85 million and houses at P9.66 million.

The declaration came 24 days after the occurrence of tropical storm Vinta (international name: Tembin).

According to the memorandum order issued by the National Disaster Coordinating Council in March 1998, within 24 hours after the impact of a disaster, the local disaster coordinating council shall conduct a survey to determine extent of casualties and damage. Based on the damage assessment and recommendation of the local chief executive, the local sanggunian should pass a resolution declaring a state of calamity.

Israel Johan M. Damasco Jr., acting PDRRMO of Bukidnon said it took time to reconcile data from different towns and cities due to lack of coordination.

According to the PDRRMC, the tropical storm, which hit the country on December 22 with Bukidnon placed along with 15 other provinces under Tropical Storm Signal Warning No. 2, caused serious damages to houses, infrastructures and crops in 13 of Bukidnon’s 20 towns and two cities.

Valencia City and Baungon town have earlier declared a state of calamity in their areas.

Hardest hit were the towns of San Fernando with an estimated damage of P52.6 million, Kitaotao with P30.7 million and Quezon with P26.5 million.

More than half of the cost of damage in San Fernando, or P33.4 million, was attributed to agriculture, which comprises 31 percent of the total damage to agriculture in the whole province.

Datu Jimboy Catawanan, chair of Saamulan ne Ogpaan te Langun ne Etew alan te Keupianan te Inged or Solidarity of People in the Community as the way to the Development of the Ancestral Land), said it was the worst disaster to hit them so far.

Catawanan said of the 150 hectares they had planted to corn and were about the harvest this month, only about 20 hectares were spared.

A total of 1,317 farmers reported incurring losses covering 5,178 hectares. The PDRRMO report did not say what crops were damaged.

The other localities affected were Baungon (P24.1 million), Talakag (P22.1 million), Valencia City (P18.8 million), Malaybalay City (P13.4 million), Kibawe (P6.6 million), Dangcagan (P5 million), Libona (P2.8 million), Maramag (P457,000), Malitbog (P300,000) and Manolo Fortich (P157,608).

Vinta claimed seven lives and another one person was declared missing, the PDRRMC said in its resolution.

The PDRRMC report said a total of 9,770 families or 35,957 persons were affected by the tropical storm. Forty-nine percent of them, or 17,556 persons, were from San Fernando town. Valencia City followed with 8,095 persons affected.

Vinta damaged a total of 762 houses with 494 reported as “totally damaged”.

According to Republic Act 10121, “not less than 5 percent of the estimated revenue from regular sources shall be set aside as the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund”. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews Contributor)