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Thousands stranded as Philippines cancels flights due to severe tropical storm

PHILIPPINE STAR/ MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

THE MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) on Sunday said 181 flights — 160 domestic and 21 international — were canceled due to Typhoon Nalgae (Paeng).

Local airlines have advised their passengers whose flights got canceled to rebook.

“Recovery flights are still ongoing,” flag carrier Philippine Airlines said in a statement.

Planes that were diverted to outstations were in the process of returning to Manila and flights originally slated to use these planes were canceled, it said. “Other flights are on planned delays.”

Sixty road sections in various areas were closed to traffic, the Department of Public Works and Highways said in a separate statement.

As of 6 a.m. on Sunday, seven road sections were affected in the Cordillera Administrative Region, three in the National Capital Region, six in the Cagayan Valley region, one in Central Luzon, and 11 in the Calabarzon and Mimaropa regions, it said.

These roads were closed due to flooding, strong water current, soil collapse, road cuts and slips, mudflow, collapsed bridges and uprooted trees, among other causes.

Three road sections were affected in the Bicol region, 18 in Wester Visayas, four in Eastern Visayas, one the Zamboanga Peninsula, three in Soccsksargen and three in the Bangsamoro region.

More than 3,000 passengers, drivers and cargo helpers were stranded at various ports, the Transportation department said in a separate statement, citing the Philippine Coast Guard.

More than a thousand cargoes, 21 vessels and 10 motor boats were stranded, it said, adding that 159 vessels and 71 motor boats were taking shelter from the storm.

The PLDT group said its network remained resilient in Northern Luzon.

“Our teams have prepositioned mission-critical equipment and manpower even before Paeng intensified into a severe tropical storm, which helped our network stay resilient,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

“We await more details on the restoration of commercial power in areas such as Batangas and Laguna, as our connectivity service is dependent on power,” the company said. “We are widening our relief distribution in the coming days to reach more people in need.”

Globe Telecom, Inc. said its teams were ready to address network issues and deploy free calls, charging and WiFi stations in affected areas.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives might adjust the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for next year for the rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas.

“I have asked the chairman of the House appropriations committee, Rep. Elizaldy S. Co, to compile the damage assessment from House members and executive offices so that they may aid us in reviewing possible adjustments in budget allocations for repair and rehabilitation of affected areas under the proposed 2023 General Appropriations Act,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

He said he had asked his colleagues to help Executive departments and agencies in assessing the damage from Paeng. and focus on relief operations.

“The House of Representatives will also use its power over the purse to see to it that rehabilitation of affected communities will proceed unhampered as soon as the relief stage is completed,” he said.

The House has passed the proposed budget bill on third and final reading. The Senate expects to pass its version next month. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Kyanna Angela Bulan

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