BRACE for heavy rains that could last from 6 to 12 hours.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday appealed to the public to seriously heed warnings on possible destructive onslaught of Typhoon Lando (international name: Koppu), which the state weather bureau expects to make landfall near Isabela and Aurora provinces, either late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning.
The eye of the storm has been tracked 510 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, as of late Friday afternoon.
Government weather agency Pagasa said bad weather is expected in provinces under storm signal number 2 starting on Saturday.
“I speak to you now to provide information and reminders about Typhoon Lando, which is currently within the Philippine Area of Responsibility,” the President said in a televised address that cut into primetime evening news programs.
In a weather bulletin issued at 5 p.m. on Friday, Pagasa said the typhoon was heading east toward the Isabela-Aurora area and was expected to move 135 km east of Baler at 5 p.m. also on Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon, Lando is estimated to move 155 km south-southeast of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, or in Hingyon, Ifugao, at 5 p.m.
Pagasa warned that the estimated rainfall inside the 600 km diameter of the typhoon would either be heavy or intense.
It said the typhoon is forecast to move west at 15 kph, while having maximum sustained winds of 130 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kph.
Provinces under public storm warning signal number 2 are: Aurora, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija and Northern Quezon including Polillo Island.
Provinces under storm signal number 1 are: Cagayan, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Rizal, Laguna, rest of Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes and Metro Manila.
“According to Pagasa’s data, the storm carries winds of up to 130 kph with gusts of 160 kph. Its movement is restricted by Typhoon Champi behind it. There are also high pressure areas above Lando. Because of this, Lando will be making its way through our country at a slower pace. Pagasa estimates that the heavy rainfall will last for 6 to 12 hours,” the President said.
“Furthermore, due to the accelerated evaporation caused by El Niño, there will be an increased intake of moisture, which will consequently increase the rainfall volume.
Moreover, according to Pagasa, Lando’s winds may reach up to 185 kph, which means that we may raise storm signal number 4 in affected areas,” he added.
The President said an estimated 1.5 million families in the affected regions would be needing help during and in the aftermath of the typhoon.
“I call on all Filipinos to avoid panicking. Let us prepare as we should, monitor the news, and understand the warnings issued by national and local governments, from storm signals, rainfall warnings, storm surge advisories and advisories regarding the necessary evacuations if needed,” he added.
The President gave assurances that the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council is closely working with various government agencies, along with those from the private sector such as telecommunications and oil companies.
“The DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] has pre-positioned food packs to more quickly bring relief to affected communities and evacuation centers; they are supported by the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] as they stockpile relief goods. The DPWH has likewise readied heavy equipment to more immediately clear roads that will be or may be impeded by debris,” Aquino said.
“The DOE [Department of Energy] and NEA [National Electrification Administration] are prepared to respond to bring power back to affected areas. The DOH has prepared first aid equipment and the necessary medicines. The DTI [Department of Trade and Industry] is monitoring market prices to ensure that profiteering does not take place. The DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government], PNP [Philippine National Police] and the BFP [Bureau of Fire Protection] are actively implementing Oplan Listo,” he added.
“The airplanes, boats and other assets of our Armed Forces and Coast Guard are also on standby. Should you happen to see an increased presence of policemen and soldiers in your communities, please do not worry. I assure you that they are there to help our first responders,” the President said.
“It is clear: Your government is here, in order to ensure that we will meet our goal of zero casualties. But I must emphasize: each local government unit, community and Filipino that will be affected has the duty to cooperate in the collective action we are taking to overcome the challenges ahead. Let me also remind you that when this typhoon passes, it will bring, or it may bring much-needed relief. Because of the rainfall, the water levels in our dams will rise, thus helping to alleviate the effects of the El Niño,” Aquino added.