December 2, 2022

(UPDATE) THE National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday said deaths from Severe Tropical Storm “Paeng” (international name: “Nalgae”) have reached 110, with 101 injured and 33 missing.

A report from the agency said that as of Monday night, 59 of the confirmed fatalities were from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which suffered massive floods and landslides.

A total of 741,777 families or 2,418,249 individuals from 6,158 barangay (villages) were affected by the storm.

Houses damaged numbered 6,542, of which 5,035 were partly damaged and 1,507 were totally damaged, for a loss of P12,415,000.

The NDRRMC said total damage to infrastructure was P760,361,175 and to agriculture, P1.3 billion with 58,086.852 hectares of crops destroyed.

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A total of P50.327,122.52 in government assistance was provided to affected residents.

Severe losses from Paeng in the autonomous region prompted President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday to intensify tree-planting efforts in BARMM as he expressed alarm over massive deforestation in Maguindanao province.

Marcos made the statement after conducting an aerial inspection in Maguindanao, which reeled from flash floods and landslides unleashed by Paeng.

During a situational briefing that he presided over in the province, the President pointed out the need to plant trees to tackle flooding as he acknowledged threats of climate change.

He said areas that were not prone to flooding in the past are now being inundated, while typhoons no longer follow their path as forecast.

“That’s the problem today. Talagang may (There is really) climate change. It’s undeniable,” Marcos said.

“So, we have to include tree-planting in our flood control. Dapat kasama ‘yan. Kung gagastos tayo sa flood control, kailangan may tree-planting (That should be included. If we spend on flood control, there must be tree-planting),” he added.

During the inspection, the President said he noticed that areas badly hit by Paeng were the ones that had been deforested.

“We have been hearing this over and over again, pero patuloy pa rin tayo nagpuputol ng kahoy, ‘yan ang nangyayari nagkaka-landslide ng ganyan (But we keep on cutting down trees, so landslides happen),” Marcos added.

“Mag-isip tayo ng mabuti doon sa tree-planting. Hindi maliit na bagay yan (Let’s think about that tree-planting. It’s not a small thing). I know people think that it is just for saving the environment. No, it’s to save lives,” he said.

The President earlier raised concern over the high death toll in the province saying, “That seems very high for a flooding incident.”

Latest tally from the NDRRMC indicated that most of the 110 reported fatalities, or 59, were from the Mindanao autonomous region.

In the briefing with the President, Maguindanao del Sur Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu said Paeng left 61 people dead, 40 injured and 17 missing in the province.

On the other hand, BARMM Interior Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said damage to agriculture has reached P211,975,479.

He added that this could still increase as authorities continue to assess the damage from the tropical storm.