by Sofia Eliana Robles

Typhoon Ulysses is a powerful Category 4-equivalent typhoon that hardly hit the Heart of Central Luzon Wednesday evening, November 11, 2020. The town of Arayat in the province of Pampanga is one of the places where typhoon Ulysses had a great fall. Some residents lost their homes and livelihood, and now have nowhere else to go to.

As of November 16, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported at least 252 totally damaged houses, and 7,440 partially damaged in the province.

Impact of #UlyssesPH

“This is the only typhoon that made us all cry in fear, it was like a nightmare. When I saw our house after Typhoon Ulysses, my heart really tore apart. It really breaks my heart for I exerted so much effort to build not just a house but a home for my family,” told Mary Grace Pineda, a resident in Candating, Arayat, Pampanga. “We prepared for the possible impact of Typhoon Rolly’s Signal #4 in our place but for this Ulysses, we never thought it would be this tough,” she added.  

On the other hand, the said devastating cyclone blew out and severely lashed several school buildings and facilities in Camba, Arayat leaving dreadful aftermaths like a totally wrecked roof of the Computer Laboratory resulting to ceiling damage and flooding; a partially flaky roof at the fourth floor of the senior high school building resulting to ceiling damages and flooding inside the room to name some of the damages.

“I felt great sadness when I saw the terrible result of the typhoon. Many uprooted trees caused severe damages from numerous school buildings. We do not know how and where to start,” said Norminda N. Mayrina, Head Teacher of Camba High School.

Moreover, Ulysses left no electricity for more than a week. Classes are also affected by the power outage. Teachers and students cannot have online classes until the power comes back. The learning system is also affected. Teachers cannot print new modules that the students use for distance learning. Some learning materials are also destroyed because of the flash flood.

Ulysses recorded a damage of Php 126.03 million worth of agricultural products in Pampanga, according to the latest report of the PDRRMC. “Arayat Town recorded the greatest loss in rice crops which amounts to PhP14.82 million,” PDRRMC Head Angelina Blanco said.

The devastating cyclone was the country’s 21st storm this year. PAGASA said that the Philippines is prone to tropical cyclones due to its geographical location with an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. The peak of the typhoon season in the most storm-exposed country like the Philippines is in between July through October.

Climate change impact on typhoon

According to the Tracking California Informing Action for Healthier Communities, Climate Change is the significant and lasting change of our climate and weather over sustained periods of time. There is international consensus that human activities over the last 50 years have altered the Earth’s natural climate. Excess production of greenhouse gases and changes to our natural ecosystems (such as deforestation) are contributing to global warming. Climate change is indeed a broader topic.

According to an article published online by theconversation.com,they stated that prevention is no longer an option and the natural systems that regulate climate on the planet are already changing, and ecosystems that support us are shifting under our feet.

Efforts to reduce the impact

Republic Act 9003 also known as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, provides the necessary framework, institutional mechanisms, and mandate to the local government units (LGUs) to achieve 25% waste reduction through establishing an integrated solid-waste management plans based on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycling). This law is implemented in all places in the Philippines.

The Municipality of Arayat implemented a rule called “No Segregation, No Collection Policy”. People need to segregate their waste into biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and recyclable. If it is not segregated properly, they will not take the garbage. In fact, they take the garbage thrice a week. Every Monday, they will take the biodegradable ones. Every Thursday, they will take the non- biodegradable ones. And lastly, every Saturday, they will take the recyclables.

“This is our very first time to experience this kind of typhoon. It is very terrifying! Climate change is real,” people from the town of Arayat are expressing sentiments on their experiences with climate change.

            People from the town of Arayat are expressing sentiments on their experiences with climate change. “This is our very first time to experience this kind typhoon. It is very terrifying! Climate change is real,”

This article was written and prepared by Sofia Eliana Robles (Student-Journalist) and Arceli Malang(School Paper Adviser) from Camba High School,  Division of  Pampanga City  as a final output of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.