This has been a devastating period for the Philippines as it was battered by a series of storms and powerful typhoons that came one after the other in close succession. Storms “Pepito” and “Quinta” hit in October, followed by super-typhoon “Rolly,” the world’s strongest typhoon this year, then by storms “Siony” and “Tonyo.” Then we had typhoon “Ulysses,” which lashed Quezon and Central Luzon this week.
These storms and typhoons have caused devastation in our islands from Northern Luzon to the Visayas, but the greatest destruction was suffered by the Bicol area and Quezon, which are in the traditional path of Pacific storms on their way to the South China Sea and on to the Asian mainland.
Storms have long been part of our normal experience in this country, with our Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services (PAGASA) tracking each weather disturbance from the time it crosses that line in the Pacific that makes up the eastern boundary of the so-called “Philippine Area of Responsibility.”
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) has programs in place, including mass evacuation of communities from expected typhoon paths, which have served to save countless lives.
The private sector has also lent its support to the government in its plans, especially for the quick restoration of damaged facilities and services, notably power for homes and businesses. With so many transmission facilities toppled over by super-typhoon “Rolly,” Meralco, the country’s largest power distributor, led by its President and CEO Atty. Ray C. Espinosa, deployed its army of linemen crews to aid in the restoration work.
The firm’s social development arm, One Meralco Foundation, joined the government’s Power Restoration Rapid Deployment Force Kapatid in repairing facilities in Catanduanes and Camarines Sur, as well as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ restoration efforts throughout the Bicol region. Meralco crews also worked with the Department of Energy, the National Electrification Administration, the Philippine Electric Association, and Electric Cooperatives, providing its linemen’s expertise to their restoration programs.
We expect a few more Pacific storms to come our way in the coming weeks, before the calm Amihan winds of December start blowing from the southwest. But we are ready for them as we have been ready for the annual storms and floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, heat waves and water shortages that are part of life in our part of the world.