Typhoon Quinta leaves trail of flooding, landslides
TYPHOON QUINTA (international name: Molave), the 17th to enter the Philippine area and one of the strongest so far this year, left a trail of flooding and landslides in parts of mainland Luzon and neighboring islands in the south, but there were no immediate reports of casualties as preemptive evacuations were undertaken in high-risk areas. Quinta made five landfalls from Sunday evening to the early morning hours Monday as it moved west-northwest with maximum sustained winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 160 km/h. A total of 21 national road sections were impassable as of Monday 12 noon due to floods, landslides, collapsed bridge, and fallen trees and electrical posts, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). “Our disaster-response teams with equipment are deployed to conduct immediate clearing operations and install warning signs along affected road sections once roads are safe for our crew,” said DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar. The Armed Forces of the Philippines also activated its disaster response teams on Monday to assist local emergency forces. Weather bureau PAGASA said Quinta was expected to exit the Philippine area by Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco on Monday called on the Senate to prioritize the passage of a bill creating a separate department for disaster management. The House of Representatives passed its version on final reading last month. “We earnestly urge our counterparts in the Senate to pass their own version so we can subsequently work on the enrolled bill to be sent to President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte’s desk for his signature,” said Mr. Velasco, one of the authors of House Bill No. 5989 or the Disaster Resilience Act. The measure seeks to create the Department of Disaster Resilience, which would be the lead agency in preparedness, response, and rehabilitation programs. — with reports from Charmaine A. Tadalan and Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza