Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Bad weather forces Marcos to skip flood-hit Oroquieta during Misamis visit

Herbie Gomez
Bad weather forces Marcos to skip flood-hit Oroquieta during Misamis visit

AID. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the distribution of government aid to victims of the Christmas Eve 2022 flooding in Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental on January 11, 2023.

RTVM video screenshot

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. notes that many areas not known to be flood-prone are among the worst hit by widespread flooding in Northern Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Bad weather forced President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to skip his visit to flood-devastated Oroquieta City, but he proceeded to distribute aid to flood victims in another area in Misamis Occidental and then Misamis Oriental on Wednesday, January 11.

Marcos promised families adversely affected by the widespread flooding in the two Misamis provinces on Christmas Eve that the government would help them rebuild.

Government data showed that more than 36,000 families suffered losses when rampaging floodwaters spawned by the shear line – the point where warm and cold air meet – brought destruction to the two Northern Mindanao provinces a day before Christmas.

Marcos said the government would send construction materials so that families whose houses were damaged could repair their homes.

Families who lost their homes for good due to the floods would be moved to government resettlement sites, he promised.

But Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental continued to face threats of more flooding after more than two weeks of bad weather.

Oroquieta City, one of the hardest hit by the December flooding, suspended classes hours before Marcos was scheduled to inspect the city.

Classes were also suspended due to continuous rain and threats of flooding in the Misamis Occidental towns of Aloran, Jimenez, Clarin, Sinacaban, Tudela, Panaon, Plaridel, and Lopez Jaena.

In Misamis Oriental, bad weather forced local governments to suspend classes in Gingoog City and the towns of Balingoan and Manticao.

A low pressure area near Surigao del Sur in the Caraga region brought more rain to the two Misamis provinces and elsewhere in Mindanao on Wednesday.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said pilots attempted to land the plane carrying Marcos thrice before the touchdown at the Ozamiz airport where Misamis Occidental officials gave him a situational briefing.

Garafil said bad weather also kept Marcos from doing an aerial inspection over Oroquieta City. 

Marcos said helicopter pilots advised him against proceeding to Oroquieta City from Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental because of the heavy rain.

The President settled for Tudela town after his plane landed at the Labo Airport in Gango, Ozamiz City, in the same province, where he distributed financial aid and relief goods to flood victims.

He then flew to Gingoog, a small city worst hit by the flooding in Misamis Oriental, where he also distributed government aid to flood victims.

Marcos said rivers need to be dredged because the present flood-control measures and infrastructure were no longer enough.

“We need to think about long-term solutions,” said the President, noting that many areas not known to be flood-prone before were among the worst affected by the recent widespread flooding in Northern Mindanao.

Fernando Vincent Dy, the head of Misamis Oriental’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the December 24 flooding displaced 18,452 families in Gingoog City alone.

Dy said the flooding also adversely affected 1,997 other families in the towns of Medina, Talisayan, Salay, Balingoan, Lagonglong, and Alubijid, as well as El Salvador, Misamis Oriental’s second component city.

The Misamis Oriental capitol said the floods and landslides damaged some P443 million in infrastructure, and agricultural losses reached nearly P50 million in the province.

“The damage was no joke. It wasn’t a storm. It was just a shear line,” Dy told a situation briefing in Gingoog ahead of Marcos’ visit.

In Misamis Occidental, Governor Henry Oaminal said the widespread flooding his province saw in late December was “unprecedented.”

Oaminal’s province counted 20 deaths, and 16,013 families or 56,853 people from 155 villages badly affected by the December flooding, according to the PCO.

The PCO also said 3,122 families or 9,928 people were in 41 evacuation centers in Misamis Occidental. – Rappler.com

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