‘Pepito’ leaves ₱121.5-M damage to agri, infra

Published October 22, 2020, 10:50 AM

by Aaron B. Recuenco & Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

New LPA spotted, may develop into tropical storm by Saturday

Severe tropical storm “Pepito” left more than ₱121.5 million worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure so far when it ravaged in Luzon, the Office of Civil Defense said Thursday. 

(Amiel Cagayan/NDRRMC/Don Lopez/Mark Balmores)

OCD spokesman Mark Timbal said there was no reported casualty in any areas hit by the weather disturbance but said it affected a total of 5,555 families composed of 25,268 individuals in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), Cagayan Valley region and Central Luzon. 

Of the families affected, a total of 3,639 families composed of 16,343 individuals were forced to flee their homes. 

Timbal said the damage to agriculture was some ₱92.5 million and 29 million for infrastructure. 

Assessment of the damage is still ongoing. 

One of the major destruction left by Pepito was the massive flooding in Lopez town of Quezon province wherein a major road for the ManilaBicol route was submerged in high floodwaters. 

Timbal said a total of 792 vehicles were stuck in the area as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Some of the vehicles already decided to turn back. 

As this developed, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Pepito left the Philippine area of responsibility Thursday but a new low-pressure area (LPA) which has the potential to become a tropical depression will likely enter the PAR this weekend.

PAGASA said Pepito left PAR around 7:30 a.m. and intensified into a typhoon at 8 a.m. Pepito was last spotted at 485 kilometers west-northwest of Dagupan City in Pangasinan or 480 kms west of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 150 kph. 

PAGASA said light to moderate with at times heavy rains may still affect Batanes, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Occidental Mindoro, and Palawan this Thursday, but will gradually improve in the next few days. 

These areas are still advised to take necessary precautionary measures in the event of flooding and rain-induced landslides that may occur during heavy or prolonged rainfall. 

High to gale-force winds with occasional gusts due to the typhoon will prevail over Northern Luzon and Central Luzon, especially over the western sections. 

A gale warning is also in effect due to rough to very rough sea conditions, with waves that may reach 2.8 to 5.5 meters, over the northern and western sea – boards of Central Luzon, Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Lubang Island, Palawan, and Calamian and Kalayaan Islands. 

Sea travel remains risky over these areas, especially for those using small boats, PAGASA warned. 

Moderate to rough seas, with wave heights 1.5 to 2.5 meters, will prevail over the eastern seaboards of Luzon. 

PAGASA advised those using small boats to take necessary precautionary measures while venturing out to sea, while inexperienced mariners should avoid navigating in these conditions. 

LPA spotted 

Meanwhile, the LPA was spotted about 1,200 kms east of Mindanao before noon Thursday. 

It is likely to enter the PAR by Friday and may develop into a tropical depression this weekend. 

It is not affecting the country’s weather condition as of this time but PAGASA advised the public to continue to monitor this potential tropical cyclone for its possible effects in the coming days. 

PAGASA assistant weather services chief Rene Paciente said the potential tropical cyclone may remain as an LPA as it enters the PAR and become a tropical depression by Saturday. 

Once it becomes a tropical depression, Paciente said it will be given the local name “Quinta.” 

It could be the fourth tropical cyclone to form inside the PAR this month, after “Nika,” “Ofel,” and Pepito. 

“Based on our initial analysis, it will make landfall over Bicol by Monday,” he said.