27 of 30 towns in Laguna flooded, governor says


07/15/2010 | 08:02 AM
Laguna province was placed under a state of calamity after most of its towns were hit by floods caused by tropical cyclone "Basyang" (Conson).

Governor Emilio Ramon Ejercito said the provincial government was forced to declare a state of calamity because 27 out of its 30 towns had been flooded.

"Nag-declare tayo ng state of calamity kahapon ... Napakaraming bayan dito, 27 out of 30 towns ang binaha kaya napakaraming nasalanta ng bagyo (We declared a state of calamity Wednesday. So many areas had been affected, about 27 of 30 towns were flooded)," Ejercito said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said that as of Thursday morning, many of the families brought to evacuation centers Wednesday had started to return to their homes.

Commercial activity also resumed early Thursday as the weather improved.

Ejercito also said he and other government officials were to start distributing relief goods to affected residents.

"The weather is improving, hopefully everything is under control. We will be busy giving relief goods," he said.

On the other hand, Ejercito appealed to squatter families not to return to areas near Laguna de Bay, which he said had been perennially flooded.

He said dredging of the bay could not start because of the squatters' insistence on staying there.

At least 27 water tributaries had been clogged with garbage from these squatters, he said.

Ejercito added the problem has become so bad that the water at the bay now contains mercury, which he blamed for the low IQ of children living there.

"Nakikiusap ako huwag bumalik sa lawa ng Laguna dahil delikado ang lugar na yan. Matagal nang problema yan. Di pa nag-umpisa ang dredging dahil napakaraming squatter dito na nagkakalat ng toneladang basura (I appeal to families not to return to Laguna de Bay. It is not safe there. We cannot start dredging because there are so many squatters)," he said.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, in an interview on dwIZ radio, said the displaced families in Laguna had gone home, but not those whose houses were still flooded.

Meanwhile, dzBB's Denver Trinidad reported residents of Muntinlupa City near Laguna de Bay were evacuated to safer grounds.

Mayor Aldrin San Pedro ordered at least 22 families evacuated to the Central Elementary School in Barangay Poblacion. — LBG, GMANews.TV

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