Top gov’t execs visit Paeng-hit areas in Panay Island

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and DND officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. conducted ocular visits and aerial inspections in two Panay provinces that were hit hardest by Paeng. (OCD-6 photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

National government officials on Wednesday visited the provinces of Capiz and Antique, days after Tropical Storm Paeng battered Western Visayas.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and Department of National Defense (DND) officer-in-charge Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. conducted ocular visits and aerial inspections in the two provinces that were hit hardest by Paeng.

With Abalos and Faustino were Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Alan Tanjusay, and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary Raymundo Ferrer.

The officials landed at Roxas City Airport around 9:10 a.m. and were met by Governor Fedenil Castro, Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 director Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division commander Major General Benedict Arevalo, OCD-6 regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez, DILG-6 regional director Juan Jovian Ingeniero, and DSWD-6 regional director Atty. Carmelo Nochete, among others.

The group then proceeded and arrived at the Evelio Javier Airport in San Jose town at 10:46 a.m.

At around the same time, the Office of the President issued Proclamation No. 84, series of 2022, declaring the state of calamity in the four regions of the country including Region 6 (Western Visayas) because of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

They were subsequently briefed on the situation and damages caused by Paeng.

Latest report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council – 6 (RDRRMC-6) pegged the number of affected families at 348,780 (1,321,601 persons) from 2,249 barangays in Western Visayas.

The number of affected families in Capiz has increased to 106,573 (401,381 persons) from the previous day’s 85,778 (327,829 persons).

While Iloilo, including Iloilo City, was not hit as hard as the two other provinces, it recorded 100,418 affected families (380,246), which is higher than Antique’s 36,631 families (149,362).

In fact, Aklan has recorded more affected families at 64,631 (231,410 persons) and Negros Occidental with 40,958 families (156,732 persons).

Currently, 18,762 families are staying in 1,174 evacuation centers all over the region.

Almost half of them are in Iloilo with 8,459 families (30,796 persons) while there are 4,563 families (16,726 persons) in Antique and 2,804 families (8,973 persons) in Capiz.

Also, of the 58 roads that are deemed not passable, 41 are in Capiz; 10 in Negros Occidental; four in Antique; two in Aklan; and one in Iloilo.

Antique has recorded the most number of impassable bridges at 9 while there are two in Iloilo and one in Capiz.

As validated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-6, Paeng wrecked 5,853 houses.

However, almost 90 percent, or 5,227 houses were damaged while 626 were destroyed.