MANILA - Officials have declared a state of calamity in Cagayan after typhoon Ompong destroyed homes and forced thousands of residents there to flee over the weekend.
Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) made landfall in Baggao, Cagayan early Saturday as the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far this year, according to the state weather bureau.
Cagayan's provincial government made the announcement over its Facebook Page on Sunday afternoon.
In a press briefing with Malacanang officials Sunday, Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said as of posting they have yet to record fatalities due to Ompong.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said around 26,367 families affected by the typhoon need relief goods and medicine as they wait for the situation to normalize.
The declaration of a state of calamity will expedite the release of funds needed to give aid to those who evacuated and to repair infrastructure damaged by the typhoon.
It will also automatically freeze the prices of goods in the market, said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, who assured no price hike will follow after the typhoon.
As of posting, power and communication lines have not been fully restored in the whole province after Ompong toppled electric posts during its onslaught.
National Telecommunications Commission chief Gamaliel Cordoba said firms are working to restore telecommunication services in three days. Meanwhile, he said the government has set up centers for emergency calls.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said authorities are also working on restoring power in the province. He also assured that no power plants have been damaged.
Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino in separate interviews with DZMM and Agence France-Presse said at least 25 people were killed during the onslaught of Ompong.
He said 13 other people are still missing, 8 in Baguio and 5 in Benguet, after the typhoon massive flooding and landslides in the Cordilleras.