COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Airline companies servicing this city have cancelled both of their inbound and outbound flights indefinitely due to haze engulfing most of Mindanao cities, the weather bureau said on Thursday.
Anna Collado, supervisor of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) at the Cotabato Airport in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao told The Manila Times that the cancellation of airline flights was started on Friday.
“The flight here [Cotabato City] was cancelled mula pang Friday dahil sa usok nagmula pa sa Indonesia (since Friday due to smoke coming from Indonesia),” Collado said.
This was confirmed by Roy Jumawan, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa-Cotabato) weather specialist.
Jumawan said the haze came from Borneo, parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan, and spread to nearby countries like Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia by southwest monsoon.
He added that the typhoon in the country contributed the entry of haze in Philippine Area of Responsibility and that the smoke, dust and small particles that engulfed the region made it difficult for airline pilots to land and take off due to “very poor visibility.”
Jumawan said the haze would only be reduced if “hanging habagat” or southwest monsoon comes in or a heavy downpour occurs in most part of the region.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health in Region 12, which covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos, has issued an advisory to protect public’s health amid the haze.
The haze carry with it pollutants that may be harmful to humans, said Dr. Francisco Mateo, DOH assistant regional director.
But Mateo said the haze is still “tolerable” and has advised the public to drink plenty of water and juice to maintain or improve resistance.