Monsoon rains pounded Metro Manila and other parts of the country from Central Luzon to the Visayas yesterday, leaving at least 11 people dead as three boats capsized in rough seas in Iloilo.
Thousands fled to higher ground as floods washed away houses, with local officials warning of forced evacuation particularly along waterways in Metro Manila and Cavite.
Initial reports said 31 people were able to survive after two passenger pump boats – MB Chi-Chi and Keziah – collided and capsized on the way to Jordan town in Guimaras from Iloilo City.
Lt. Commander Joe Luviz Mercurio, Western Visayas Coast Guard District commander, said the initial investigation of the incident showed the two boats collided after they were hit by a squall of big waves caused by strong monsoon winds.
“There was zero visibility when the incident happened. They might have collided after strong winds struck their vessels,” Mercurio said.
Another boat – M/B Jenny Vince – capsized in Iloilo Strait, he said.
Officials said 11 survivors were brought to Jordan and another 11 to Buenavista town in Guimaras. Some 20 others were brought back to Iloilo City.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo said their search and rescue teams in Iloilo recovered the bodies of two female passengers, while four females and one male was retrieved in Buenavista, Guimaras.
Balilo said they have yet to identify the casualties and which boat they came from.
Initial reports said the boat Chi-Chi had 43 passengers while Kezziah had only four crewmembers aboard, who were all rescued.
Some 14 passengers of Chi-Chi are still missing.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) spokesman Mark Timbal said they are awaiting reports on the sinking of Jenny Vince, with 34 passengers and three crewmembers aboard.
“We are still verifying how many were rescued so far. Ongoing search and rescue operations are underway in Iloilo waters,” Timbal said.
Donna Magno, chief of Iloilo Civil Defense Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said as of last night, the death toll from the three capsized boats was at 11.
The incident came as the rest of the country is reeling from the effects of the southwest monsoon being pulled by a brewing storm off Virac, Catanduanes.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the low-pressure area off Catanduanes may develop into a tropical depression with the local name “Hanna” within 24 to 36 hours.
PAGASA said heavy rains will be experienced over Metro Manila, MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Bataan, Zambales, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal due to the southwest monsoon.
The Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Quezon province and the rest of Central Luzon will have cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms also brought by the southwest monsoon.
The continuous rains forced thousands of families in the already soggy Metro Manila and provinces in the south to seek shelter on higher grounds.
Seven houses in Isla Puting Bato, Tondo, Manila were washed away by the floods caused by Manila Bay’s swollen waters.
Some 74 persons from 23 families were transferred to the Del Pan evacuation center in Manila.
The Taguig City government said more than 50 families living near creeks, rivers and other low-lying areas in the city were housed in evacuation centers.
Marikina residents had been advised on preemptive evacuation should the level of the Marikina River rise.
The Maragondon river in Cavite was also monitored at a critical level yesterday at around noon, due to the continuous rain and high tide. At least 12 families in Ternate, Cavite City were evacuated.
The OCD said 202 areas were heavily flooded since Friday in Central Luzon and Metro Manila.
Still experiencing flooding up to two feet deep are 150 areas in Central Luzon, particularly in Bulakan, Calumpit, Meycauyan City, Marilao and Paombong in Bulacan; Apalit, Lubao, Masantol, Macabebe, Guagua and Sasmuan in Pampanga; Dinalupihan and Hermosa, in Bataan; and 17 areas in Iba, Zambales.
Strong monsoon winds destroyed seven houses and damaged 41 others in Pontevedra and La Carlota City, Negros Occidental. – Source: Jaime Laude, Robertzon Ramirez, Ralph Edwin Villanueva, Rhodina Villanueva, Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Gilbert Bayoran / Jennifer Rendon (The Philippine Star)