MANILA, Philippines – Property and agricultural damages caused by typhoon Frank (international code name: Fensheng) had reached more than P4 billion as of Tuesday morning.
Based on separate reports in Tuesday’s National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting in Malacañang, the damages totaled P4.27 billion, the bulk of which are in the agriculture sector.
Damages in fisheries, rice, corn and high-value crops cost P3.2 billion, while damages in roads and bridges accounted for P750 million. School damages amounted P212 million while the cost of commercial boats that sank totaled P110 million.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto B. Santos, however, downplayed the damages’ significant impact on economic growth.
"We still have to get the extent of the damage of the typhoon. But it will not have a big impact on the economic growth this year. Preliminary figures state that the impact will not be adverse," he said.
The government’s full-year economic growth target is 5.7% to 6.5%.
In a briefing, NDCC Executive Director Glenn Rabonza said out of the P3.2-billion loss in agriculture, damages in fisheries accounted for P2.2 billion, while crop damages totaled around P1 billion. Broken down, the crop damage were as follows: P670 million for rice, P165 million for corn and P194 million for high-value crops.
"On the issue of rice, the loss translates to 32,000 metric tons, but that is only 0.01% of our production," Mr. Rabonza said.
The Agriculture department’s rice production target for the third quarter is 3,447,047 metric tons.
In a presentation, Agriculture Undersecretary Jesus M. Paras reported that Western Visayas was worst hit in terms of rice production as it incurred a production loss of 31,500 metric tons.
The region also had the worst corn production loss at 13,660 metric tons, constituting a big chunk of the total corn loss of the entire country which is 13,767 metric tons.
In terms of high-value crops, production loss for the entire country totaled 19,303 metric tons, with the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) region posting the worst loss at 10,154 metric tons.
On damages to fisheries, Mr. Paras said the P2.2-billion production loss involved around 25,000 metric tons of milkfish and 5,000 metric tons of shrimp.
Public Works Secretary Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr. said based on their initial assessment, the damages to infrastructure, roads and bridges, have reached P750 million.
Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus reported that 351 school-buildings were damaged, while 140 are being used as evacuation centers. He said around P212 million is needed to rehabilitate the facilities.
Mr. Paras said 22 commercial fishing boats sank in Capiz. "Each boat costs P5 million so the total amount of boats cost P110 million."
In the same meeting, the National Transmission Corp. reported that six lines in the Luzon grid have yet to be fully restored as of Tuesday.
It added that 99% of Manila Electric Co. loads had been restored. Electricity market operation was expected to resume Tuesday.
In the Visayas, power supply had been fully restored in Cebu, Bohol and Negros, while more than 90% of Leyte and Samar has been energized.
Half of the power supply requirements in Panay island has been restored, with some portions of Iloilo and Capiz still suffering from power outages.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., the United States government pledged to send around $100,000, or P4 million, worth of emergency relief goods through the Philippine National Red Cross.
"We want to express our condolences to the government of the Philippines and the people particularly those who have been affected by the tragedy," a Palace statement quoted US State Department Deputy Secretary John Negroponte as saying.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who arrived in Washington last Monday, said, "We are deeply grateful for the help by the US government."
The assistance came a day after the US announced that it is sending its US Navy ship Stockham to help the authorities rescue the passengers of the capsized M/V Princess of the Stars.
Meanwhile, a total of 291 people have been confirmed dead by the NDCC-Office of Civil Defense (OCD) after Frank battered 38 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas at the weekend.
Anthony T. Golez, Jr., OCD deputy administrator, said that as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, 291 people have been reported dead, 166 wounded, and 44 missing.
The tally on casualties does not count fatalities from the ill-fated vessel.
The latest NDCC report noted that 198,224 families from 1,898 barangays (vilages) in 207 municipalities were affected by the typhoon.
Mr. Golez also reported that 105,374 houses were destroyed by flash floods and the typhoon’s strong winds.
He said the worst-hit region was Western Visayas. Local officials have placed Aklan and Iloilo provinces under a state of calamity.
Meanwhile, Region 6 (Western Visayas) police spokesman Superintendent Ranulfo Demiar reported that as of 10 p.m. Monday, the death toll has reached 169, with 18 injured and 218 missing.
Mr. Demiar said the bulk of casualties was in Iloilo where 91 drowned. The breakdown of casualties in the other provinces are: Antique, 31; Aklan, 20; Capiz, 11; and Negros Occidental, 1.
He said some areas were still inundated, although water has gone down in most parts of the region. Power has yet to be restored.