Philippines: PGMA inspects typhoon-affected areas in Pampanga

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GUAGUA, Pampanga - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today inspected storm-affected areas and assessed the government's flood mitigation projects in the province.

Upon arrival here, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) informed President Arroyo that 153 barangays in Region III were affected by typhoons Maring and Labuyo.

The Chief Executive ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to fast track anti-flood projects, especially the pumping systems to prevent future floods in the areas.

The President then proceeded to the Mt. Pinatubo Emergency Target Management Office (MPETMO), which is under the supervision of the DPWH district office in San Fernando City.

The President personally checked the implementation of the pumping systems being installed in the municipalities of Guagua, Lubao and Sasmuan and in the City of San Fernando.

The pumps are part of the Mt. Pinatubo urgent mitigation project aimed at resolving the flooding problems in the province.

The President, together with Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral, personally talked to affected residents of Barangay San Isidro near the La Consolacion Parish where the flood water reached knee-level.

The President then rode on a truck and visited barangays San Juan, San Pablo, San Pedro, Sto. Cristo, and Sto. Ni?o. She led the distribution of relief goods to affected residents.

In a report, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) said that 125 barangays in Apalit, Guagua, Sasmuan, Floridablanca, Masantol, Lubao, Bacolor, Mexico, and Arayat were affected by floodings brought by these two typhoons.

The Gugu creek in Bacolor was breached at the Tenajero portion and the Pulo Cabalatian bridge was also damaged.

In Floridablanca, the 100-meter Gutad-Anon portion of earth dike collapsed. Other earth dikes that collapsed were the 150-meter Caulaman Rirver-San Pedro portion, the 150-meter Porac River-Benedicto portion, the 200-meter Pasig Paguiruan portion of slope protection, and the 100-meter Valdez portion.

The Candaba San Miguel Road and the Baliuag to Candaba to Sta. Ana Road were not passable to all types of vehicles since last night as flood waters reached two-feet deep.

To augment the relief operations in the area, the NDCC facilitated the release of 850 sacks of rice distributed as follows: 300 in Botolan, Zambales; 400 in the 4th district of Pampanga; 100 in 2nd district of Pampanga; and 50 to Guagua Pampanga.

It, likewise, released 50,000 empty sacks to the 4th district of Pampanga and Guagua for sandbagging operations.

The Office of the Civil Defense Regional Office also reported that a total of 26,211 families or 115,482 individuals were affected in the whole province.