Ecija man missing; Only 700 hectares of palay harvested before Ompong strikes

September 17, 2018

CABANATUAN CITY -- An unidentified man went missing after crossing the river in Bgy. Labi, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija as Typhoon Ompong made its exit towards Hong Kong last Saturday.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Eliseo T. Tanding yesterday said the incident was reported to them by the Bongabon municipal disaster risk reduction and disaster management office at 10:10 p.m. Saturday.

Tanding said witness Carlito Cabral was gathering debris near the river when he saw an unidentified man crossing the river so he yelled and tried to stop him but the latter still continued walking.

The next thing the witness saw, Tanding said the man was swept away by the strong currents and he remained missing as of press time yesterday.

At the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems office, acting operations manager Engr. Rosalinda Bote said they are still assessing the damage wrought by Typhoon Ompong, which hit the province where almost all of its palay crops were already in the reproductive and flowering stages and ready for harvest in a week’s time.

Of the 130,000 hectares planted to palay during this wet season, she said a measly 700 hectares were only harvested before Ompong struck the province.

“Marami din po sa mga palayan ang nalubog sa tubig-baha, kasi almost nasa reproductive and flowering stage na sila, hinihintay lang po namin ang mga report mula sa ating field offices bago makapagbigay ng actual figure,” Bote told this reporter in a text message yesterday.

The UPRIIS chief stressed that Pantabangan Dam did not release water during Ompong’s onslaught as the dam needs more water to impound and it has yet to reach its spilling level.

As of 7:45 a.m. yesterday, the dam’s elevation was recorded at 215.24 meters, about 5.76 meters below the spilling level of 221 meters, Bote said.

In San Jose City, the Sibut-Palestina bridge and Tulat overflow bridge were ordered closed to all types of vehicles starting at 2 p.m. Saturday by city mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador after floodwaters rose in the river. However, it was reopened for light vehicles only at 5:30 p.m., Salvador said.

In San Antonio, Mayor Arvin C. Salonga said Bgy. San Jose was isolated due to flashfloods while some 136 persons, comprising 23 families from Bgys. Tikiw, Julo, and Papaya were evacuated at the Dr. Jose Lapuz Salonga municipal gymnasium due to rising floodwaters triggered by Typhoon Ompong.

Rizal Mayor Rafaelito Andres said the Rizal-Bongabon Road was also rendered impassable to all types of vehicles due to heavy floodings in the area.

Also rendered not passable as of 9 p.m. last Saturday to all types of vehicles as reported by the Nueva Ecija provincial risk reduction and disaster management office were the Pinagpanaan-Rizal-Pantabangan Road due to damage of reinforced concrete pipes; the Bgy. Road from Dalaydayan to Caiingin, Tabing Ilog, Guimba; the Bravo-Singalat Bridge in Palayan City; the Siclong-San Fernando Road in Laur; the Labi Bridge in Bongabon due to eroded approach and dike; the Gomez-Florida Blanca Road in Llanera; Purok Culos, Bgy. Sinulatan in Guimba; and the Bgy. Bambana-Sta. Cruz Road in Cuyapo.

At the Diocese of Cabanatuan, Bishop Sofronio Bancud assured on Saturday that all parishes are ready to provide shelter to residents of the province affected by Typhoon Ompong.

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