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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE2 - 11:59 a.m.) President Benigno Aquino III is at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters to meet with his Cabinet on measures to address the widespread flooding caused by torrential rains since Monday.
The President got a briefing from officials on flooded areas, people and communities in need of rescue, the transport situation and the outlook for the weather, as rains induced by the southwest monsoon or habagat continued to pour.
Authorities are monitoring if the rains, which flooded most parts of Metro Manila and cancelled public and private offices, classes, paralyzed business and put millions at risk from flooding, would reach Abra, Ifugao and Benguet this (Tuesday) afternoon.
Social Welfare Secretary Corazion Soliman said 199,485 families in over 100 evacuations centers have been listed; and close to half of the evacuation centers are in Manila, the capital.
A P40-million standby fund (P35 million in actual goods and P5 million in funds) is ready.
The Metro Manila Development Authority admitted they lacked rubber boats that are badly needed for rescue, and like other State agencies, were swamped with urgent pleas for rescue.
President Aquino ordered all local government units in places affected by flooding, to conduct, through barangay or village chiefs, a "person by person" check. "With so many areas flooded, you must check if some people have been overlooked [in the rescue]."
He appealed to people for understanding in the problems hobbling rescue, saying the government's helicopters cannot be used at the moment owing to zero visibility and winds, leaving the brunt of rescue to water-borne units.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has so far deployed 200 rubber boats.
As Health Secretary Enrique Ona warned of a spike in diarrhea-related and water-borne diseases owing to the impact of floods on potable water supply, the DPW chief, Rogelio Singson, said the department will deploy portable water-treatment systems to hospitals having problems with water supply.
DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas said the Coast Guard's five rubber boats have been deployed to Quezon City; one will be deployed to Marikina; three more to Malabon City.
The Mindanao exit of NLEX was shut down by heavy flooding.
Energy Secretary Rene Almendras said more than 40 circuits are being closed by MERALCO as precaution in severely affected areas to prevent electrocutions.
Meanwhile, flooding in Oriental Mindoro and Lubao Island were also reported to the President.