PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: The Provincial Information Office (PIO) announced here Thursday the formal closing of the relief operation of the Palawan Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) after ensuring that typhoon Ruby is no longer a threat to residents of the Calamianes Islands Group.
In a statement, the PIO said the PDRRMC’s operation was ordered closed by Governor Jose Alvarez Tuesday, through Provincial Legal Officer (PLO) Atty. Teodore Jose Matta after the state weather bureau PAGASA lifted all storm signals affecting over 50 provinces in the country, including Palawan.
“After confirming that Ruby no longer poses any threat, and based on studies and observations by PAGASA through Sonny Pajarilla, weather forecaster in Palawan, the governor already ordered the operation of the PDRRMC closed,” the statement said.
Related to this, despite the closing, the statement said the PDRRMC remains in close coordination with municipalities slightly affected to assure that all evacuees have been provided with food assistance.
It can be recalled that the PDRRMC was ordered open by Alvarez with eight clusters to work together for a systematic and pre-emptive response.
These clusters were Cluster 1: Information and Coordination headed by information officer Gil Acosta; Cluster 2: Evacuation headed by the Western Command; Cluster 3: Transportation and Logistics headed by the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO); Cluster 4: Search and Rescue; Cluster 5: Relief Operations headed by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO); Cluster 6: Clearing Operations headed by the PEO; Cluster 7: Medical Services headed by the Provincial Health Office (PHO), and Cluster 8: Documentation and Rapid Assessment headed by the PSWDO.
Among the areas carefully monitored by the PDRRMC were the island towns in the Calamianes Islands composed of Coron, Linapacan, Busuanga, and Culion, including Cuyo, after PAGASA placed them under Signal No. 2.
On December 7, Mayor Clara Reyes of Coron ordered the suspension of classes up to December 8, and later extended it to December 11, when Ruby showed no signs of decreasing in strength.
She also ordered the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (MDRRMC) to start the evacuation of residents from coastal areas, numbering over 3,000 on the same day, and to do forced evacuation and arrests if residents resist abandoning their homes when the typhoon hits.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), on the other hand, prepared food packs for around 10 municipalities that it suspects will be affected by Ruby, said to be the most erratic typhoon this year.
In local interviews, PSWDO head Apolonia David said the preparation of the food assistance was one of the major activities of the PDRRMC even before Ruby entered the Philippine Areas of Responsibility (PAR).
In the DSWD MIMAROPA Field Office, the food packs prepared were 300 each for Cuyo, Agutaya and Magsaysay; 200 for El Nido; 200 each for Busuanga, Coron, and Culion; and 200 each for Brooke’s Point and Bataraza in southern Palawan.
Though some of the municipalities are not directly on the typhoon path, David said they are also vulnerable because heavy rains from Ruby can dislodge them from their dwelling homes due to flooding and erosion, like Brooke’s Point and Roxas.
From the provincial government’s relief operation resources, 1,000 food packs each were sent to Linapacan and El Nido; 1,500 for Roxas, and 2,250 food packs for Taytay.
Additional sacks of rice were also sent by the provincial government: 500 sacks for Coron; 300 for Busuanga; 200 for Culion; 300 for Cuyo; 200 for Agutaya; 200 for Magsaysay, and 100 for Cagayancillo.
In a bid not to delay their delivery, Alvarez ordered them immediately purchased in the municipalities.
Matta thanked all government agencies, as well as private offices, civic organizations for replying positively on their call to help prepare the food items for assistance to residents, who might be affected.
”Nothing to lose,” when Ruby did not cause any harm in the areas where Signal No. 2 was raised by PAGASA. What is important, he said, is that “Palawan was prepared to save its residents.” PNA