President Rodrigo Duterte will most likely place the entire Bicol region, Mimaropa, and Calabarzon under a state of calamity due to the damage caused by super typhoon “Rolly,” Malacanang said Monday, enabling them to tap emergency funds.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) earlier recommended placing the three regions under a state of calamity, after Rolly did at least P14 billion in damage to agriculture and infrastructure.
The world's strongest typhoon of the year left at least 22 dead after it battered provinces south of Manila last week with gusts of up to 310 kilometers per hour.
Of the deaths, 13 were recorded in Albay, five were in Catanduanes, one was in Camarines Sur, and three were in Batangas, according to the NDRRMC report.
Rolly damaged more than 55,000 homes and flattened 20,000 more, said disaster management chief Ricardo Jalad.
Rolly is the 18th to hit the Philippines this year and one of the strongest typhoons since Yolanda killed more than 6,300 people in 2013.
Tropical Depression “Ulysses,” meanwhile, picked up some speed and may possibly reach the tropical storm category within 24 hours, the weather bureau said Monday.
In its 11 a.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said "Ulysses" was last seen 635 kilometers east northeast of Surigao City, Surigao del Norte, or 605 km east of Borongan City, Eastern Samar.
"Ulysses" packs maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 70 kph. It is moving northwest at 40 kph.
No tropical cyclone wind signal has been hoisted yet over any part of the country, as "Ulysses" is not directly causing severe weather, the weather bureau said.
It is forecast to head towards the Bicol region-Quezon area, and may further intensify into a typhoon before making landfall on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the tail-end of a cold front affecting extreme Northern Luzon will cause moderate to heavy rains with at times intense rains over Cagayan, including the Babuyan Islands, Isabela, and Aurora.
Flooding and rain-induced landslides may occur in highly susceptible areas during heavy or prolonged rainfall.
Moderate to rough seas may be experienced over the eastern seaboards of the country in the next 24 hours, Pagasa said.
It added that mariners of small seacraft are advised to take precautionary measures when venturing to the sea.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) advised residents in the path of Tropical Depression Ulysses to take the necessary precautions ahead of its landfall.
Residents who sought shelter in evacuation centers due to Rolly were advised to extend their stay for the time being.
The World Bank on Monday estimated that the Philippines would incur P177 billion in losses, or about 1.0 percent of gross domestic product, to typhoons and earthquakes every year.
Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, said in his keynote speech during the 58th Philippine Economic Society Annual Meeting and Conference held online on Monday that the probability of extreme weather events is expected to increase.
"In the next 50 years, risk models estimate that the Philippines has a 40 percent chance of experiencing losses exceeding P1.7 trillion (8.7 percent of 2019 GDP] and a 20 percent chance of experiencing losses exceeding P2.7 trillion (13.8 percent of 2019 GDP) in a single year.
Dip said this was staggering.
Diop noted that the country is buffeted by highly recurrent natural disasters. He said at least 60 percent of the country’s land area, and 74 percent of its population are vulnerable to natural hazards, such as typhoons, flooding, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
He said the Philippines is the third most vulnerable country in the world to extreme weather-related events and sea level rise, according to the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
"We saw this just last week as typhoon Rolly swept through the Philippines, hitting Bicol region, resulting in lives lost, communities devastated, and livelihoods damaged," Diop said.
Diop also said the Philippines is exposed to “contagion” shocks transmitted by globalization of markets and finance and greater global connectivity. Today, he said a sudden change in investor sentiment against one emerging market economy at the other corner of the world can lead to investors’ panic and herd behavior leading to capital outflows and pressure on currencies in many economies.
Before the COVID-19, the Philippines was one of the most dynamic economies in East Asia, growing by an average of 6 percent annually. Because of the pandemic, Diop estimates that the economy will contract by 6.9 percent this year, an estimated P2.6 trillion or $52 billion of output foregone because of the pandemic.
"The good news is that the Philippines has managed to build strong macro-fiscal resilience to shocks," Diop said.
Diop recommended four key policy priorities to get the economy back to its growth path. These are controlling the spread of the virus; maintaining consistent and well-coordinated macroeconomic policies; advancing structural reforms, and, implementing an infrastructure development program guided by considerations of job creation, poverty reduction, and narrowing inequality.
"To summarize, securing long-term economic resilience requires attention to resilience in macro-fiscal, health, disaster management and climate adaptation, spatial planning and infrastructure, digital economy investments, and most important investments in human capital," Diop said.
He said the World Bank’s partnership with the Philippines focuses on these very areas, guided by its core mission of reducing poverty, and increasingly for the Philippines and many other countries, reducing inequalities.
In other developments:
* The Department of Agriculture said “Quinta” and “Rolly” have left P5.6 billion in agricultural damage in some regions. This represented a four-day decline in the country’s present rice inventory of 94 days, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
* The NDRRMC said restoring power in Catanduanes could take up to two months. This would affect the restoration of water services, which are dependent on power, the disaster agency added.
* About 1,311,199 households in typhoon-hit areas now have access to electricity again, translating to 62.68 percent of the 2,091,796 affected consumers, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) said Monday. NEA said in a statement efforts to restore power to the remaining 780,597 households continue with the help of the 'Power Restoration Rapid Deployment’ Task Force Kapatid deployed to different areas hit hard by the typhoon, especially in the Bicol region.
* Senator Sherwin Gatchalian suggested realigning some of the P200 billion in subsidies for state-owned corporations to augment funds need to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and natural calamities.