TRAGIC CHRISTMAS: ‘Ursula’s’ death toll in Panay swells to 16; nine still missing

Massive flood in Pontevedra, Capiz, one of the areas in Northern Panay that was hit hardest by Typhoon Ursula. (Photo courtesy of City Ferrer/Office of Civil Defense 6)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon, Emme Rose Santiagudo, and Dolly Yasa

Sixteen persons, including a family of four, perished in Panay Island in the aftermath of Typhoon Ursula (international name: Phanfone), authorities reported on Thursday.

From eight deaths reported on Christmas Day, eight more casualties were added from Carles and Batad in Iloilo; Pilar and Mambusao in Capiz; and New Washington, Aklan.

But the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) stressed that the number is still up to verification and validation.

As of 9:00 a.m. of Dec. 26, reports from the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) and RDRRMC showed that Batad town has the most number of casualties at seven.

They were identified as Roel de Asis, 41, his children Meme de Asis, 15, and Rhian “YanYan” de Asis, 3; alias Dagul, 12, and alias Angga, 13, who all got swept following a flash flood at Barangay Pasayan, Batad.

The other two fatalities are Eduardo Alvarez, 77; and Jayboy Lazada Lamatao, 35. Lamatao apparently died of drowning while Alvarez died after he got pinned after a tree fell down on him.

The three casualties from Balasan, Iloilo were Danilo Abendanio, 62,  and Henry “Dodok” Alfuente, 56, both of Barangay Poblacion, Balasan; and Joemar Dela Cruz, 30, of Barangay Dolores, Balasan.

The lone fatality from Carles town was 40-year-old Abe Tolosa Ignacio.

The four casualties in Capiz were identified as Merlinda Delatina Baquilar, 53, of Barangay Lantangan, Pontevedra town; Edward Gautani, 12, of Barangay Poblacion, Pres. Roxas; John Dial, 15, of Pilar; and Janine Lacoste, 13, of Mambusao.

The identity of another casualty in New Washington, Aklan has yet to be released.

Meanwhile, the number of missing persons climbed to nine.

Jerals Franco Maming, 26, was reported missing in Barangay Agtambo, Passi City.

Also missing in Batad town was Moymoy de Asis, 10, son of Roel de Asis, and another in Carles town.

The missing in Capiz were Leonel Flores Baria, 43, and Joel Balasa Baria, 69, both of Barangay Manapao in Pontevedra, Capiz.

On the other hand, police recorded that four persons were missing in Malay town in Aklan.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-6 and PRO-6 also recorded two injured persons.

Edwin Alvarez and Shine de Ramos, 17, both of Barangay Binon-an, Batad, were taken to Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City for treatment.

There was also one injured person each in Mambusao, Capiz; Malay, Aklan; and New Washington, Aklan.

OCD-6 also reported that Ursula displaced 1,745 families composed of 11,148 individuals.

The affected families include 498 from the Antique, 924 from Capiz, and 3,163 from Iloilo.

Also, 1,695 families composed of 7,450 persons sought shelter in evacuation centers in Panay Island.

Evacuees in Antique province reached to 498 families with 20 from Caluya town and 478 from Libertad.

On the other hand, Capiz recorded 821 families who evacuated from the towns of Panay, Pilar, Ivisan, Mambusao, Cuartero, Tapaz, Sapian, Dumalag, Jamindan, Panitan, Sigma, and Maayon; and Roxas City,

Most of the evacuees from Iloilo are from Concepcion town with 273 families while there are 5 from Sara and 98 from Passi City.



The OCD-6 reported two landslide incidents.

The first happened in Barangay Aglimocon in Sara, Iloilo wherein a portion of the road is not passable to all kinds of vehicles.

A period of the road was also covered in Sitio Tampayak, Barangag West Villaflores in Maayon, Capiz but the road still passable to all vehicles.



The town of Carles in Iloilo was placed under a state of calamity Thursday following the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula to the households and fishing vessels of the residents.

Julieto Manggasang, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (MDRRM) officer of Carles, Iloilo said that a resolution recommended by the MDRRMC has been passed by their Sangguniang Bayan during its emergency session on Thursday.

As of December 25, Manggasang said they recorded four missing persons in Carles but two were recovered the following day.

Manggasang said the four missing persons were mostly fishermen who tried to save their fishing vessels.

May mga mangingisda nga nag-attempt himuson ila mga sakyanan. Duha gid sa ila ang patay,” he said.

Manggasang said they are still verifying the identity of an individual found floating in Roxas City.

He added that around 80-90 percent of the town’s population were affected by Typhoon Ursula.

Gakulob kag gabinaliskad ang mga sakayan kag ang atop sang pamalay kon indi washed out damaged gid,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday.

Power lines in the entire municipality of Carles were also cut off, he added.

Manggasang said they are still waiting for the reports from the barangays in Carles to account the total damage of Typhoon Ursula in their town.

Based on reports and social media posts, the provinces of Capiz and Aklan and the towns of Balasan in Iloilo province and Pandan in Antique also declared a state of calamity on Thursday due to Typhoon Ursula.

But RDRRMC-6 has yet to confirm the information.



As of 12 p.m. of Dec. 25, 2019, a total of 2,270 passengers, 366 rolling cargos, 16 vessels were stranded.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has allowed sea travel in the region.

In Negros Occidental, Lt. Commander Jansen Benjamin of the PCG said they suspended sea trips Monday afternoon after Storm Signal No. 1 was hoisted over the province.

Based on PCG’s monitoring by 6 p.m. Monday, 50 passengers were stranded at the Bredco port in Bacolod, along with 20 cargo trucks.

In Escalante City, authorities counted at least 148 passengers bound for Tabuelan, Cebu were stuck at the port, while 80 passengers bound for Toledo, Cebu were stranded at the San Carlos City Port.

On Tuesday morning, more passengers arrived at the Bredco port hoping they could cross to Iloilo City but the PCG still barred vessels from leaving port as the tropical cyclone warning signal remained hoisted over the province.

A separate report by the Bacolod City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) counted at least 180 stranded passengers between Dec 24 and Christmas Day at the Bredco port.

The passengers were sheltered at the Education and Training Center School-4 in Barangay 16.

The CDRRMO also reported that the local barangay assisted them in providing the needs of the stranded passengers such as food, water, and hygiene kits.

The City Health Office, meanwhile, set up a first aid station to attend to sick travelers, while the Bacolod City Police Office detailed some of their personnel as security for the passengers.

By late afternoon of Wednesday the storm signal was finally lifted in the province and the PCG ordered the resumption of sea travel.



The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-6 announced Wednesday evening that all of their employees are on call anytime for field deployment.

This developed with the activation of the Blue Alert status on Monday to respond to affected families of tropical cyclone Ursula.

The DSWD-6, which acts as vice chair for the Response Cluster of the RDRRMC, provides augmentation to Local Government Units (LGUs) during crisis and disasters. The LGUs, based on the Local Government Code, are at the frontline of response.

DSWD Assistant Regional Director for Administration Evangeline Felecio assured that the agency is ready to augment to the needs of the LGUs.

“We have available stockpile should the LGUs need our augmentation. We ensure that we have sufficient family food packs for any eventuality,” Felecio said.