Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin ordered all local government units and concerned agencies to do a “final check” of their preparation before the super typhoon “Yolanda” passes Eastern Visayas Friday morning.
Gazmin, in a meeting Thursday evening with members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of Eastern Visayas at the command center at the Police Regional Office 8 (PRO8), said he expected all necessary preparations to be completed the soonest.
“The critical time is between 9 to 10 a.m. tomorrow. We still have time for our final preparations,” according to Gazmin who arrived in Tacloban City Thursday together with Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to oversee the readiness of the region.
Also during the meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that 4,800 family food packs are now being prepositioned, at least 700 each for the six provinces of the region.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in its initial report stated that 734 families have been evacuated to safer places in Guian, Eastern Samar, where the eye of the typhoon will be, as exected.
Earlier, Roxas ordered the inventory of all families situated in geohazad areas and determine those who have not transferred to evacuation centers for determination of appropriate actions in case of worst scenarios.
The department also reported that all local disaster risk reduction management councils have been activated with vice-mayors serving as incident commanders in local government units where their chief executives are not around.
The Department of Health, now in blue code at the regional office and in code white alert for the entire health sector, has prepositioned medicines in their provincial offices and some P2.4 million worth of drugs available at the regional office.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) based on monitoring reported that price of basic goods and commodities is normal and the supply is adequate. These are based on prices last week and this morning.
Meantime, Gazmin said that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has its 36 aircraft ready should there be a need to transport goods in areas that will be difficult to access.
The Philippine National Police in Eastern Visayas has prepositioned its more than 700 search and rescue trained personnel in various provinces to be deployed anytime when needed.
The 8th Infantry Division on the other hand has deployed 1021 troops to flood and landslide prone areas.
Gazmin reminded the two law enforcement agencies not “to forget the security” amid the preparation that they are doing in line with the super typhoon.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced the cancellation of flights by Cebu Pacific while it still has to receive information from the Tiger Air and Zest Air.
Philippine Airlines, according to CAAP, has its own protocol when it comes to cancellation of flights.
A task force has been created by CAAP to ensure the smooth flow of operation at the airport.
The Philippine Information Agency reported that through its text blast it was able to send information to local officials down to the barangay level and key officials of various government offices.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported that close to 900 stranded passengers in various ports and harbors in the region. Also, several passenger, cargo vessels, tug boats, passenger buses took shelter in preparation for the typhoon.
Mayor Sandy Javier of Javier, Leyte and the national president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) said that all mayors have been alerted and urged to do the necessary preparation as they were informed of “how serious” the weather disturbance is.
Meantime, Secretary Roxas ordered the DTI to coordinate with the National Food Authority (NFA) that failed to send representative to the meeting to conduct an inventory of their stocks at the warehouse and those in private warehouses.
Also, look into the supply of food stuff in other warehouses and volume of fuel available at depots, he added.
In closing, he encouraged local government units to convene their legislative bodies and prepare necessary documents for the possible declaration of state of calamity. He said that with the possible impact of the typhoon, it is important that resources will be readily available.
“High winds may flatten so many thousand dwellings; effects will be lingering for a long, long time,” he stated.
Gazmin and Roxas will again convene with the RDRRMC 8 a.m. on Friday. PNA