NEGROS Occidental was placed under “blue alert” status as Tropical Storm Basyang slightly accelerated and moved closer to the Philippine area of responsibility.
Blue alert means local government units have to prepare for possible disaster.
Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division, said the Provincial Government has already issued preparedness advisory to the city and municipal local disaster offices.
He said responders are on standby, while they have intensified their information education campaign on flood-prone and landslide-prone areas in the province.
As of 2 a.m. Tuesday, Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal Number 2 was hoisted over Negros Oriental, Bohol, Southern Cebu, Siquijor, and Southern Leyte. Signal number 2 was raised over Negros Occidental, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Guimaras, rest of Cebu, Leyte, Biliran, Samar, and Eastern Samar.
All sea trips in Negros Occidental have been cancelled, while classes from pre-school to secondary levels were suspended in the cities of Bacolod, Cadiz and Sagay.
Caelian said if Basyang will not change its course, it will be a rainy Valentine’s Day in Negros.
Sea trips cancelled
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has also cancelled all the sea trips in the province as of 2 p.m. Monday, February 12.
Lieutenant Senior Grade Jimmy Oliver Vingno, head of PCG-Bacolod City, said trips of fastcraft and roll-on, roll-off vessels will continue to be suspended Tuesday if there is still a cyclone signal in the province.
Affected sea trips were for fastcrafts bound for Iloilo City from Bacolod City and vessels plying from various ports, including San Carlos City to Toledo, Cebu; Escalante City to Tabuelan, Cebu; and Cadiz City to Bantayan Island, Cebu.
Due to cancellation of trips, about 200 passengers were stranded at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. port in Bacolod City.
Mayors Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, and Alfredo Marañon III of Sagay City have ordered the suspension of classes in pre-school, elementary and high school due to Tropical Storm Basyang.
In Bacolod, Leonardia issued the order after a consultation with Department of Education-Bacolod Schools Division Superintendent Cynthia Demavivas and Executive Assistant Jose Ma. Vargas, head of Cluster on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
Vargas said Leonardia declared a suspension of classes from pre-school to high school because he is concerned of the dangers of floods to schoolchildren.
Leonardia assured his constituents that the City Government is doing its best to cushion the impact of floods as it is in constant coordination with concerned agencies to continually seek more effective solutions to floods.
For his part, Escalante said classes were suspended in all public and private schools in Cadiz due to the impending threat of the cyclone, adding that flood waters might overflow.
In Sagay, Marañon advised his constituents to take precautionary measures in preparation for the impending threat of Basyang as classes from pre-school to secondary levels were also cancelled.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Basyang is expected to bring scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains over Visayas, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur.
“Residents of these areas must continue monitoring for updates, take precautionary measures against possible flooding and landslides, and coordinate with their respective local disaster risk reduction and management offices,” Pagasa said.