Karen death toll rises to 9


Typhoon caused P57-million damage to 223 schools

By DEXTER SEE & SHIANEE MAMANGLU

BAGUIO CITY — The death toll wrought by Typhoon Karen in the Cordillera region rose to nine after rescuers recovered the bodies of two workers buried by a landslide at a mine site in Tuba, Benguet yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday said Typhoon Karen caused R57 million worth of damage to 223 schools in north Luzon.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in the Cordillera identified the landslide victims as Ernest Piduca, 46, and Alberto Caballero, 45, both pit watchers of the Philex Mining corporation in Padcal, Tuba, Benguet.

Before the recovery of the two bodies of mine workers, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported that Karen left seven people dead and around R3.7 million in damages in Northern Luzon.

The two mine workers were inspecting the subsidence area of the mining company when a portion of the mountain collapsed and buried them, and three bulldozers and two pay loaders owned by the company during the height of Typhoon Karen last Wednesday.

In Tinglayan, Kalinga, a certain Ambrocio Gayad reportedly died after he drowned in the Chico River at the height of Typhoon Karen last Wednesday.

Two of the three missing persons were identified as Mary Andugan alias Banganay, 76 of Besao East, Besao, Mountain province and Faustino Bilema, 66, of San Juan, Abra while another missing person believed to be from Tineg, Abra, remains unidentified.

Andugan was reported missing by relatives last Wednesday. They said she was walking home from Lobon, Tadian town to Besao, Mountain Province via the short cut route.

Bilema was reportedly carried away by the rampaging waters of the Malanas River in San Juan, Abra.

OCD-CAR officials blamed the bogged down communication facilities as the primary culprit in the submission of belated reports especially in the death toll in the Cordillera.

The DepEd Calamity Information Center reported that the recent typhoon damaged 100 schools in Region I, 62 schools in Region II, and 61 schools in the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR). It estimated damage to each region at R15,222,073, R19,230,000 and R22,400,000 respectively.

In Region I, Ilocos Norte suffered damage worth R8,971,000 arising from 42 destroyed schools while Laoag City had 33 damaged schools worth R5,106, 673.

The other areas affected in Region I were in Vigan City with 19 schools worth R1,094,400 and in Alaminos City in Pangasinan with one school worth R50,000.

In Region 2, 54 schools worth R16, 230,000 were destroyed in Nueva Vizcaya and eight schools worth R3 million were damaged in Cagayan province.

In CAR, Abra was hardest hit with 61 damaged school buildings or an estimated damage cost of R22,400,000.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the figures are still subject for validation. The damages, he added are expected to rise as more reports are coming in from the field.

Before hitting Hong Kong, Karen (international codename Nuri) left seven people dead and around R3.7 million in damages in Northern Luzon, the National Disaster Coordinating Council reported.

Meanwhile, Lapus expressed confidence that the law that provides additional R9,000 compensation to teachers will soon be passed into law after the House leadership assured the immediate passage of the bill.

“Speaker Prospero Nograles and incoming House Appropriation Committee chairman Junie Cua are well aware of the urgency of the measure and have committed to calendar the bill next week,’’ he said.(MB)

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