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By DP Limlingan
Thursday, October 31, 2013
LAST October 29, when I saw Pagasa's (Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) forecast of the then incoming weather disturbance, I immediately thought of what might happen to our Undas observance and to our farmers.
We could have a “wet” lighting of candles and offering of flowers for our departed loved ones at their tombs on Undas. I remember several years ago when a strong typhoon soaked cemeteries in many parts of the country.
Despite the rain, I recalled that people still visited the resting places of the dead, setting aside the fact that they got wet. They likewise shrugged off health issues since many tombs are not tight-sealed and were inundated. Water gushing from the concrete boxes may have been contaminated.
Going back, the forecast phenomenon entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and intensified first into a tropical depression and then became a typhoon. As of this writing, it has become a “strong” typhoon, wreaking havoc in the northern part of Luzon.
Typhoon “Vinta” was forecast to pass through Central Luzon. Its initial trajectory would have bull’s-eyed the region prior to the changing of its course as it goes up north.
While we do not pray that “Vinta” will go to other provinces and there would unleash its strength, the people in Central Luzon should somehow feel blessed for being spared from the latest typhoon to hit the country.
As I monitor the path of the typhoon on the internet, it came to my mind that we have not yet fully recovered from the wrath of Typhoon “Santi” which affected most parts of the region. Aurora province is still recuperating from the onslaught of several typhoons this year, including “Labuyo”.
Tarlac province, to this date, still has many areas which have no electric power services. “Santi” has toppled a number of electric poles, power lines and trees, damaged residences and affected crops and livestock.
Olongapo City meanwhile is still recuperating from the leptospirosis outbreak when a closed mine pit was inundated, carrying the disease to residents. There were a number of deaths and hospitalized people due to this.
Aside from what could have been a “wet” observance of the Undas, I thought of our farmers who are at this point, on the brink of harvesting the fruits of their crops. In many areas in Central Luzon, palay is set to be harvested. In some areas, they are maturing and in a couple of weeks be reaped.
If “Vinta” didn’t change its route and directly hit the region instead, the “rice granary” of the Philippines was sure to have suffered a huge amount of damage to crops. It could have made our farmers scratching their heads again.
Palay, when soaked for a long time, would rot and even if sun-dried, its market value would surely be adversely affected. The price of rice would then escalate to a high due to low supply.
“Vinta” is at present, still in our PAR, ravaging the provinces of Cagayan and Apayao, which are under Signal No. 3. Its strength has intensified and is expected to leave the country this afternoon.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on November 01, 2013.