by Kattryn Erryc Sayo

The Southwest Monsoon (Hanging Habagat) rains which took place on the second week of August 2012 were enough to create a disaster to the residents of Plaridel, Bulacan.

Plaridel is one of the few towns in Bulacan which rarely gets flooded because of its elevated land. But just this year, in the surge of the odd yet intense Southwest Monsoon, the municipality was shockingly affected with inundation. A total of 16 barangays were disturbed and distressed.

“Ang Plaridel kasi mataas. Pero nitong pagdating ng Habagat mataas talaga ang tubig sa ilang barangay. Halos lahat ng barangay apektado,” said Engr. Reynaldo dela Cruz, the Action Head of the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO).

“Malala ito dahil kung titignan natin ‘yong damages, marami-rami. ‘Yong mga pananim, particularly palay ay nalusaw, maraming bakuran ang lumubog. May konting roads din na nasira, nagkaroon ng hukay-hukay, especially sa may Parulan. Medyo malaki rin ang damage sa may Angat River. Nagkaroon ng soil erosion. So ‘yong mga illegal settlers do’n in-evacuate,” added Engr. Dela Cruz.

According also to Engr. dela Cruz, 5% of the whole municipal budget has been used as calamity fund, all for the package of relief goods, cooked foods, sleeping mat and blanket, as well as the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure.

An estimation of 1,082 households were affected, particularly a total of 5,450 persons. The evacuated families ranged up to 796, specifically consisting of 4,026 persons.

The Don Caesario San Diego gym in the barangay of Poblacion became the temporary home or evacuation center of the victims, including some public elementary and high schools in Bagong Silang, Banga 1st, Banga 2nd, Culianin, Parulan, San Jose, Sipat and Tabang.

“’Yong 1,082 families na ‘yon, or ‘yong 5,450 affected residents, nasa evacuation center man o hindi, ay nabigyan lahat ng assistance, said Arlyn Valencia, Coordinator of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO).

The number of relief goods distributed extended up to 2,400 packages. 500 of which were from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 400 came from former RP Vice President Teofisto Guingona, and the other 1,500 packs were from the municipality.

Aside from those, the town Mayor Anastacia R. Vistan also provided sleeping mats and blankets, and cooked foods, and Non-Government Organizations donated assorted breads, bottled water, cooked foods and used clothes.

The total cost of assistance granted by both the Local Government of Plaridel and Non-Government Organizations was Php712,700.

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