Govt reports zero casualties as Storm ‘Egay’ nears exit
WEATHERMEN on Monday said an approaching storm would most likely enhance the southwest monsoon and extend the rainy days for the rest of the week as tropical storm Egay (international name: Linfa) moves away from the country.
According to state weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio, the enhanced monsoon would bring in heavy rains this week.
Speaking at the 5 p.m. briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, he said Pagasa is keeping watch on an approaching tropical storm, internationally named as Chan-Hom, which is still outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Aurelio added that it is unlikely to hit the Philippines but will enhance the southwest monsoon and continue to bring in heavy rains even after Egay exits the country by Wednesday.
Even though Egay is already exiting the PAR, the NDRRMC called on the public to be wary of floods, storm surges and big waves.
Chan-Hom is expected to enter the PAR either Tuesday or Wednesday while Egay is forecast to be out of the PAR on Thursday.
It will be known locally as Falcon once it enters the PAR. Falcon was derived from the name of the Filipino action film character Tony Falcon, the local version of “James Bond,” the fictional British secret agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming.
According to the latest NDRRMC situation report, the tropical storm continues to slowly move northward.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, the center of storm Egay was located at 200 kilometers northwest of Laoag City (Ilocos Norte) with a maximum sustained winds of 75 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 90 kph. It is forecast to move north at 7 kph.
State weather bureau Pagasa raised public storm signal No. 1 in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Batanes, Calayan and Babuyan group of Islands, northwest of Cagayan and Apayao.
The NDRMMC report released by Undersecretary Alexander Pama said there were no reported casualties.
The police in Cavite, however, recorded the death of an 8-year-old boy who drowned after he was swept away by strong current in a river in Barangay Pasong Kawayan 1 in General Trias town last Sunday.
Also last Sunday, poor visibility reportedly caused a helicopter to crash near Mount Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas, killing businessman Archie King (see related story) and the aircraft’s pilot. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines also on Sunday issued an advisory disallowing small aircraft from taking flight because of bad weather caused by the entry of Egay.
The disaster council said there were four landslides in Palawan, Benguet and Apayao while 15 flooding incidents were recorded in La Union, Palawan, Apayao and the cities of Mandaluyong and Marikina in Metro Manila.
Orange, yellow warning
Pagasa raised an Orange Warning against potentially life-threatening floods in the Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas and Valenzuela) area in Metro Manila, Zambales and Bataan while a Yellow Warning was issued for low-lying areas in Quezon City and Manila, Bulacan and Pampanga.
Flashfloods across Metro Manila and nearby provinces caused by heavy rains prompted
Malacañang to suspend classes and send government workers home.
The Supreme Court and Court of Appeals also called off work. Executive judges in Metro Manila’s trial courts were given the discretion to suspend work “depending on [the]situation in their respective localities.”
“The Chief Justice has authorized early dismissal starting 2:30 p.m. today, July 6, 2015 for court staff of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals due to threats of flooding arising from orange rainfall alert over Metro Manila,” an SC Public Information Office announcement said.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada called off classes in all levels effective noon. Students in the flood-prone University Belt along the Mendiola-Recto-España triangle jammed the streets. Many braved ankle-deep floods to get a ride.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the decision to suspend classes in all schools in Metro Manila at past 3 p.m. was based on the accumulated rainfall amount monitored by Pagasa.
Coloma added that it was only in the afternoon that the accumulated rainfall amount reached critical level.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority lifted the number coding scheme in the afternoon.
Malacañang lauded various government agencies, including local government units (LGUs), for effectively mitigating the effects of typhoon Egay, noting that proper coordination did the trick.
“As a result of these coordinated efforts, there have so far been no reported casualties.
Typhoon Egay is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility by Thursday evening. Until then, we advise the public to stay calm and alert, and to keep updated on weather advisories by tuning in to government websites and media,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.
Lacierda added that national agencies and the LGUs are “hard at work” as the storm continues to affect the northern parts of the country
“Our national agencies are hard at work, coordinating with provincial and local governments to minimize damages and ensure the smooth flow of relief, rescue and support operations,” he said.
According to him, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) had already alerted the public on its projected path and the areas likely to be affected even before the typhoon came.
“Upon landfall, Pagasa has continued to closely monitor the weather situation. In aid of accurate data-gathering and the constant updating of storm and flood warning signals, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has also been continuously monitoring automatic rain gauges and other equipment. In addition to weather bulletins and 24-hour forecasts, hourly updates are continuously being sent out,” Lacierda said.
“The NDRRMC, for its part, is ensuring that these bulletins and advisories reach the LDRRMCs: from the provincial down to the municipal levels. The NDRRMC has also directed the affected regions to intensify their precautionary initiatives and preparedness measures,” he added.
The Palace official also reported that the Department of Health (DOH) has been coordinating with retained hospitals in anticipation of possible events, and has been prepositioning assorted drugs and medicines in their provincial offices. Various DOH branches are also readying deployment and provision of supplies and technical assistance.
“The DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] has also been advising concerned LGUs and disseminating information about possible floods and landslides.
They have been working with the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways], which has installed warning signs on flooded road sections and deployed equipment and personnel for clearing operations,” Lacierda pointed out.
As of Monday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepared a total standby fund of P32,826,244.01 and a stockpile of 288,540 family packs, prepositioned in Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya, in addition to other select geographically isolated areas.
Other agencies such as the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine Coast Guard have placed their operation centers on alert and deployed teams for rescue operations.
“Successful rescues have been carried out in several areas in La Union,” Lacierda further noted.
Landslide-stricken highways in the Cordillera, especially major road arteries such as Kennon Road, Marcos Highway and Naguillan Roads, have been opened to motorists.
A landslide occurred along the Lion’s head Uabao section also on Sunday as well as the Poyopoy section of Marcos Highway along Tuba and Bigis.
The Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya road remains open as of Monday noon while the Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan Road struck by landslides along barangay Asokong and Bongis in Kabayan were opened to one-way traffic. But barangay Bugao and succeeding sections along the Gurel-Bokod-Kabayan road were closed.
The Baguio-Itogon Road, specifically along the Goldfield section in Barangay Ucab, remains closed.
Several sections of the Shilan-Beckel Road were opened to one-way traffic while only one-way traffic was allowed at the Pico-Lamtang Road, particularly along Little Kibungan Village in Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet.
The Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road, which also suffered landslides, was opened to one-way traffic.
Only one lane of the Asin-Nangalisan-San Pascual Road was declared passable.
The Matalag section along the Conner-Cabugao Road in Apayao was also opened to traffic on Monday.
All roads in Ifugao, Abra, Kalinga and Mountain Province remain passable, the Office of Civil Defense said.
Baguio City Mayor Maurico Domogan called on the public to be on the guard and ready for emergencies.
He said while City Hall has organized a well-equipped and trained unit as well as barangay-based teams to respond to emergencies, everyone must still be involved in responding to disasters.
With GABY B. KEITH, ERNIE ESCONDE, THOM PICANA, ROGELIO LIMPIN AND PNA