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‘Quinta’ batters Luzon

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has activated its disaster response units in areas battered by tropical storm “Quinta,” particularly in Bicol Region, Calabarzon (Region 4A), and Mimaropa (Region 4B).

General Gilbert Gapay, AFP Chief of Staff, instructed his ground commanders in the path of Quinta to help local government officials in ensuring the safety of the people.

“They should be prepared to deploy and assist local government units and other relevant agencies in the preventive evacuation or force evacuation as may be needed by our countrymen,” he said.

This proved to be crucial as 12 fishermen were reported missing in Catanduanes while a crew member of a capsized yacht, MV Oceanic Explorer 3, in Bauan, Batangas was yet to be found amid the onslaught of Quinta.

Commanders were also enjoined to observe the minimum safety standards in the deployment of their personnel, such as wearing of protective gears and practicing social distancing.

He also told his commanders to exercise all the necessary precautions to keep their personnel and equipment safe, including aircrafts, ships, and other key assets.

THOUSANDS DISPLACED

An estimated 10,000 individuals were affected by “Quinta” in southern Luzon and northernmost part of the country, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mark Timbal said 1,503 families or 5,704 individuals were evacuated and currently staying at various evacuation centers in Bicol Region (Region 5), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon or Region 4A), Mimaropa (Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan or Region 4B), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

Some 968 families or 3,524 individuals also fled their homes but opted to go to their relatives and to areas which are not prone to flood, landslide, storm surge, and lahar, he added.

HARDEST HIT

Bicol was among the hardest hit regions by Quinta, which made its first landfall over San Miguel Island in Tabaco City, Albay at 6:10 p.m. Sunday.

It made four more landfalls over Malinao, Albay at 6:50 p.m.; San Andres, Quezon at 10:30 p.m.; Torrijos, Marinduque at 1:20 a.m. Monday; and Pola Oriental Mindoro at 3:30 a.m., according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

Six areas in Bicol Region and Calabarzon experienced power interruption as strong winds brought by Quinta toppled electric posts.

Timbal said these areas were in Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Quezon province.

Around 10 a.m., the eye of Quinta was located at 1,920 km east of Southern Luzon, and will likely exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Tuesday, PAGASA said. (Martin A. Sadongdong)

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