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Three killed in monsoon rains

Manila: At least three people died while thousands of residents in various parts of Luzon continue to bear with effects of monsoon rains that had been affecting parts of the northern main island for a week.

The Office of the Civil Defence said that in northern Luzon, two executives of the FCL Laranang Construction, engineer Patrick Lachica and Hannah Jean Aragon, a human resources executive, died when their barracks was swept away by a landslide in the village of Salud Mitra in Baguio City last Wednesday.

Witnesses said the two were heaving a coffee break at the temporary structure when the earth near the construction project site suddenly collapsed, burying both of them under debris.

In the town of Besao in Mountain Province, a local resident, David Apaling, died after he fell into a ravine.

Also in Baguio City, a 24-year-old resident survived an ordeal underneath a pile of debris after a structure he was constructing to buttress his house suddenly gave way. Alert local residents who called for assistance from local police and members of the fire brigade retrieved him just in time. He suffered a leg injury from the accident.

According to the state weather bureau, Pagasa, the provinces of Batanes, Calayan, Babuyan, Northern Coast of Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Isabela and Bataan, Mimaropa, Central Luzon and Calabarzon as Metro Manila, continue to experience monsoon rains and 45-63km/h winds.

Although the rains are moderate to heavy, it had been pouring with hardly any let up for a week, overwhelming storm drains and rendering some roads and homes flooded.

In Metro Manila as well as parts of Ilocos Region, Central Luzon and Calabarzon, classes resumed on Wednesday only to be suspended again on Thursday after school were called off on all levels on Monday and Tuesday.

Last Wednesday, 17 families were pre-emptively evacuated in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon) region, Ricardo Jalad, executive director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said.

While international flights were not affected by the weather disturbance, domestic flights, particularly Manila-Basco-Manila and Manila-Laoag-Manila were cancelled for safety reasons.

Earlier, the PAGASA declared the start of the wet season in the Philippines with the arrival of storm Maliksi last week.

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