The Wrath of Habagat-A A +A
By Rox Peña
Thursday, August 22, 2013
FOR the second time, the southwest monsoon, or more popularly known as Habagat, dumped heavy rains in Luzon and Visayas. It will be recalled that in 2012, Habagat also caused havoc in some parts of the country. The amount of rainfall dumped by the southwest monsoon then was unprecedented, says former Pagasa man and currently GMA-7’s weatherman Nathaniel Cruz. The rainfall volume even exceeded that of Typhoon Ondoy.
This year's Habagat, though having less rain than last year, is still destructive. Metro Manila was practically paralyzed. Government offices and classes were suspended for almost a week. Monday night till whole of Tuesday, the rain did not stop. Wednesday and Thursday, rain was intermittent. In some areas, rain was at record high. According to Pagasa, the volume of rainfall in Sangley Point in Cavite last Tuesday surpassed last year's record of "Habagat." In Laguna, authorities said that the flooding is worse than Ondoy.
I was monitoring events as they happened on Facebook. Netizens were posting pictures of flooded areas in real time. Tuesday 5PM, Vice Mayor Dexter David of Porac posted pictures in his FB page of the damaged portion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. Facebook was delivering news faster than radio and TV. One FB post said that water at the Candaba swamp has risen to the level of the viaduct!
Cellphone calls and text were also helpful. By Tuesday afternoon, I was informed through text that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has placed the whole Pampanga province under a state of calamity. I immediately called up our NDRRMC officer so he can take the necessary action. Yesterday, I was also informed through text that the Capitol suspended classes in the whole province for elementary and high school.
With two destructive Habagat’s on record, my worst fear is that this will be a yearly event. God forbid.
Is August a month of disasters? First there was the diesel oil spill in Cavite, which affected large portions of the province. Luckily, the oil spilled was diesel which is a light fuel so much of the spill evaporated after a few days but it caused damage nonetheless. Then there was typhoon Labuyo which struck Northern and Central Luzon. Last August 12, I went up to Baguio for a seminar for local officials braving the signal no. 3 winds of the typhoon. Thank God I arrived unscathed.
There was also the ship collision in Cebu which happened this month. The passenger ship M/V Thomas Aquinas collided with the cargo ship M/V Sulpicio Express 7 off Talisay last Friday. As of this writing, there are 71 confirmed dead and 49 still missing. The province of Cebu was placed under state of calamity on Monday, not due to Habagat but because of the oil spilling from the sunken ship.
And now we have Habagat 2013.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 23, 2013.