Isabela officials, farmers pray: Heavy rain from Typhoon Ineng

CAGAYAN, Philippines – Officials and farmers of Isabela province are hoping that Typhoon Ineng (international codename Goni) will bring enough rain to revive their crops damaged by the prolonged dry spell.

Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III made the statement as his province continues to reel from the prolonged dry spell, which prompted the provincial government to declare a state of calamity last week.

“'Yun nga ang pinagdadasal natin, na umulan. Kawawa na ang magsasaka natin (That’s what we are praying for, that it will rain. Our farmers are so pitiful)," Dy said in a phone interview on Friday, August 21.

Damage to agriculture in Isabela is estimated at P700 million.

In its 5 am weather bulletin on Friday, state weather bureau PAGASA placed northern Isabela under Public Storm Warning Signal Number 2, and the rest of Isabela under Signal Number 1. 

Dy said Isabela only experienced occasional rains overnight, and hopes for more rain as the typhoon neared the Batanes-Cagayan area. 

The provincial government placed Isabela under a state of calamity as around 38,000 farmers reported damage to their corn crops. The declaration would allow the use of the calamity fund to ease the effects of the dry spell.

Dy said different agencies have met on measures to mitigate the situation.

Strong winds batter northern Cagayan

Bonifacio Cuarteros, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) chief in Cagayan, said strong winds overnight bent several electric posts and trees in northern Cagayan, which is under Storm Signal No. 3.

Cuarteros said power supply has been cut off since Thursday, August 19, as a pre-emptive measure for the typhoon. 

PDRRMC-Cagayan is also monitoring storm surges in its coastal areas, which has prompted the evacuation of at least 200 individuals in Gonzaga town. 

The Philippine Coast Guard in Aparri also reported that 63 passengers have been stranded due to cancellation of boat trips going to Calayan Islands and to the coastal towns of Isabela. –