MANILA (5th UPDATE) - Typhoon Quinta's strong winds and heavy rains downed electrical posts and inundated parts of southern Luzon, forcing thousands of families to observe physical distancing as they fled its wrath during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 1,000 residents were evacuated in Oriental Mindoro, where strong winds likened to Typhoon Tisoy have ripped roofs off houses, said Governor Humerlito Dolor.
Tisoy (international name Kammuri) left 13 dead in southern Luzon and Visayas in 2019.
"For almost 6 hours na binabayo kami ng napakalakas na hangin ni bagyong Quinta. Maikukumpara siya sa lakas ni Tisoy dati," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(Quinta's strong winds have been hitting us for almost 6 hours. It can be compared to Tisoy's strength.)
"Hindi namin ine-expect na ganito kalakas ang magiging bagyo. Compared mo kay Tisoy, the same strength na meron si Tisoy...Although di ganun kalakas ang dalang ulan, pero napakalakas ang dalang hangin."
(We did not expect it to be this strong. It has the same strength compared with Tisoy...although the rains are not that strong.)
Some 27 families evacuated in Barangay Buhuan, Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro were given a room each to observe physical distancing. Some residents were also rescued from high floodwaters in Barangay Ilaya early Monday, according to ABS-CBN reporter Dennis Datu.
The city's electricity was cut since Sunday evening and cellphone signal remains weak, Datu said.
Calapan City is in need of materials to build shelters and will ask the national government for assistance as most of its funds have been depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its mayor Arnan Panaligan said.
A maximum of 8 persons is allowed per classroom in evacuation centers, Dolor said.
The province has 65 active cases of COVID-19, most of whom are asymptomatics and in isolation facilities, he added.
An elderly person died in the province early Monday due to heart disease, the governor said, adding the death is unrelated to the typhoon.
An individual drowned in San Antonio town, Quezon prior to the arrival of Typhoon Quinta, said Governor Danilo Suarez. The province's evacuees have started to go home and its national highway remains passable, he added.
Some 14,000 residents have fled Quinta in Sorsogon, and 331 vehicles or 700 persons on their way to Samar and Mindanao were stranded, said Governor Chiz Escudero.
The province's electricity was also cut off, probably due to a problem in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines' transmission line in Albay, Escudero added.
"Walang reported na malaking damage ang bawat munisipyo, lahat ng kalye nadadaanan ngayon," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(The towns have not reported huge damage and all roads are passable.)
Matnog Port remains closed and will automatically open once storm signals have been lifted, Escudero said.
Typhoon Quinta inundated parts of Albay, downed powerlines and prompted some 15,000 families to flee on Sunday, said Governor Al Bichara. The evacuees have since begun going back to their homes, he added.
The province is assessing the typhoon's damage to its agriculture and infrastructure, Bichara said.
Some 5,000 families or 16,000 persons evacuated in Tabaco town, Albay ahead of Quinta's initial landfall over San Miguel Island on Sunday evening, said Mayor Krisel Luistro.
"Face masks po talaga meron silang lahat, 'yun ang sinabi kong priority na kailangan," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(They all have face masks, that's what I said was the priority.)
"Wala pa pong kuryente, wala namang posteng natumba. Pag medyo nakalinis na kami, pwede nang ibalik."
(We have no power yet but there are no electrical posts that went down. Once we have cleaned up, we will restore it.)
Meantime, a total of 48 families were placed in evacuation centers in Calamba City, Laguna. Of this figure, 18 were evacuated since tropical depression Ofel lashed parts of Luzon 2 weeks ago. They have yet to return their homes due to the threat of landslide.
Some 30 families whose homes were alongside the river were evacuated in Barangay Parian.
In Marinduque, some 6,098 persons or 1,892 families evacuated due to the threat of flooding and landslides, said Governor Presbitero Velasco.
The province's powerlines were shut as a precautionary measure and the local government is coordinating with the electric cooperative in inspecting downed electrical posts, Velasco said.
The governor added that provincial officials have yet to decide whether to extend general community quarantine, set to end Monday, due to community transmission of COVID-19.
Typhoon Quinta kept its strength as it headed towards the West Philippine Sea on Monday morning. It is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Tuesday, PAGASA said.
Some 1,800 passengers were stranded in ports in Southern Tagalog, Bicol region, Eastern Visayas and Western Visayas as of 4 a.m., the Philippine Coast Guard said.
--With reports from Dennis Datu and Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News