Marikina City and the municipality of Real in Quezon province are now under a state of calamity due to extensive damage wrought by Typhoon Ulysses, local authorities said on Friday.
“I have declared a state of calamity for the city of Marikina, totoo iyon, para magkaroon ng pagkakataon ang ating pamahalaan na epektibong makatulong sa pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayan dito sa lungsod,” Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
[Translation: I have declared a state of calamity for the city of Marikina, that is true, so that the government will have the chance to effectively help residents of the city.]
With the state of calamity declaration, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and other humanitarian assistance will be fast-tracked.
Teodoro added that declaring a state of calamity will also allow authorities to control prices of basic goods in the affected areas and give residents a chance to file emergency and calamity loans, as well as access to basic services from government financial institutions.
He reported that the city has so far recorded one fatality, a resident from Barangay Malanday who drowned in flood water after attempting to escape from his home. Assistance is already being provided to the family of the victim, he added.
Aside from rescue operations, the local government has now shifted to rehabilitation efforts to bring back normalcy to typhoon-hit communities.
“Yung rehabilitation on two levels eh, physical restoration of the communities pero more importantly, ito nga yung gusto kong bigyan ng diin, yung economic rehabilitation, “ Teodoro said.
[Translation: Rehabilitation must be done on two levels, physical restoration of communities, but more importantly, I want to emphasize economic rehabilitation.]
The city mayor added that he is considering tapping the Department of Labor and Employment and the Employers’ Association of the Philippines to provide a long-term employment for the residents of the city who were previously displaced from their jobs due to the pandemic.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo added that authorities were overwhelmed by the rescue calls of residents, not just in Marikina, but also in Quezon City, Navotas, and Bulacan, among other areas inside and outside Metro Manila.
“Naoverwhelm tayo doon sa dami ng kailangang tulungan,” he said in a similar interview with The Source. “I’m sure magkakaroon ng assessment pagdating dito at hindi natin gugustuhin na maulit pa na mailagay ulit ang mga kababayan sa ganitong sitwasyon.”
[Translation: We were overwhelmed by the number of people who needed to be attended to… I’m sure, there will still be an assessment on this and we will not allow putting our citizens into a similar situation.]
Marikina City was one of the areas worst hit by the typhoon. All 47 evacuation centers in the city were full, but many families were trapped in their homes after the floodwaters quickly rose in several areas. The water level in Marikina River went as high as 22 meters during the height of the typhoon on Thursday noon.
Teodoro said this has breached the river’s 21.5 meters peak water level during Tropical Storm Ondoy, which wreaked havoc in Marikina in 2009. The Japan International Cooperation Agency recorded a higher level at 22.16 meters, while various reports at the time put the peak level during Ondoy at 23 meters above sea level.
The Municipality of Real issued Resolution No. 227, series of 2020, which was signed by Vice Mayor Joel Amando Diestro declaring a state of calamity due to the adverse impact of typhoons Ulysses and Rolly to livelihood, agriculture, and shelter of its residents.
This move will give access to the 30% Quick Response Fund of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management budget. It will also allow other government agencies to provide assistance to the town to supplement rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts.
The local government noted that approximtaley 9,125 individuals, or 21% of the current population of the town at 43,000, were affected by the two weather systems.