Typhoon hampers rice shipments to Batanes, says governor

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2020 09:23 AM | Updated as of Nov 06 2020 09:31 AM

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MANILA - The provincial government of Batanes on Friday said they may soon have a problem with their rice supply if the province continues to experience bad weather after Severe Tropical Storm Siony.

"Ang problema ko, kung saka-sakaling tuloy-tuloy itong bagyo, kasi mayroon na namang kasunod, at matagal pang walang barko magkakaroon ako ng problema sa bigas,” said Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco.

In an interview on TeleRadyo, Cayco said there are two ships loaded with food supplies for Batanes that have yet to sail from Metro Manila due to the series of storms.

“Meron kaming dalawang barko sa Manila na puno na ng pangkargada na dapat lalayag na 'yun papunta sa Batanes pero dahil sunod-sunod ang bagyo hindi pa nakakaalis sa Manila papunta dito,” she said.

Cayco said they only have 478 sacks of NFA rice in their warehouse.

“'Yung commercial rice ay halos wala na hong mabibili pero meron kaming 1,000 sacks ng NFA doon sa barkong padating pero ang problema nga po kung tuloy-tuloy na masama ang panahon ay hindi sila makakatawid papunta dito,” she said.

The provincial government, she said, would ask help from the Office of Civil Defense to send food supplies via a C-130 if the problem persists.

“Nakapag-distribute na kami ng relief goods mula noong Thursday at ngayong araw na ito ng 10 kilos ng bigas at isang kilo pork, merong silang pagkain,” the governor said.

Siony was last spotted 70 kilometers east of Itbayat, Batanes at 4 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 95 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 115 kph, said PAGASA in its 5 a.m. bulletin.

Siony is expected to make landfall or closely approach the vicinity of Itbayat, Batanes within the next 2 to 3 hours. It is forecast to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Friday evening.

Cayco said the province is already feeling strong winds and rains as early as 2:30 a.m.

So far, she said no landslide has been reported yet and al the roads remain passable.

They have already prepared their evacuation centers should the need to move residents to safer ground arise.

“Sa ngayon, nagkaroon kami ng preemptive evacuation sa mag-asawa dahil wala silang kasama sa bahay at dinala namin sa evacuation center namin sa Barangay San Joaquin. Safe po sila doon,” she said.

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The province remains COVID-19 free but they have 95 stranded residents and returning overseas Filipino workers currently undergoing the 14-day mandatory quarantine.
 
“Sa isang quarantine facility namin merong nabasag, kaya kailangang ilipit yung naka-quarantine para safe sila. Ngayon po sinundo na sila para tingnan kung saan sila ililipat po,” she said.