A LOW-PRESSURE area that is expected to develop into a tropical depression could affect some parts of the Visayas, including Cebu, this weekend.
Although the low-pressure area (LPA) is still hovering east of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur, it could develop into a strong tropical depression. If it does, it will be named Auring, said Engr. Al Quiblat of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
But aside from Auring, Quiblat said, another massive cloud formation has been spotted in the Pacific that could develop into another LPA, which may bring rains and strong winds during the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival next weekend.
Officials of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are contemplating on canceling the annual fluvial procession if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
During a coordination meeting yesterday, PCG officials in Cebu said they will recommend the cancellation of the fluvial procession if PAGASA raises a storm signal warning in the province.
If only a gale warning signal is raised, the Coast Guard will prevent smaller vessels—those 250 gross tons or less—from sailing during the fluvial procession, said Commodore Dionilett Ampil of the PCG Cebu Station.
“Padayon gihapon ang among pagcoordinate sa PAGASA. I-ampo lang nga way bagyo nga moabot (We continue to coordinate with PAGASA. Just pray that no storm arrives),” Ampil said.
If the weather will allow only bigger boats to sail, Ampil said, those on smaller vessels can still view the parade, but they will be confined to the sides.
For now, the PCG is keeping its doors open to vessel owners who plan to register for the fluvial procession next Saturday.
Ampil said they’re giving vessel operators and owners until Jan. 12 to go to the Coast Guard office and register.
Aside from the accreditation from PCG, interested vessel operators and owners must also secure a special permit from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), Ampil added.
To secure the main galleon and other vessels, the PCG, along with the Philippine Navy and other groups, will be deploying 300 marshals along the fluvial procession route.
Lt. Reynaldo Roy Paas, assistant operation officer of the Naval Forces Central, told reporters that they will be deploying their operatives to conduct a security sweep on the route.
Their operatives will also assist in escorting the galleon carrying the image of the Santo Niño.
Paas said they have yet to receive any report of any terrorist threat against the fluvial procession.
Drones will not be allowed during the fluvial procession, except for cases where the operator has acquired a special permit to fly.
Medical and emergency units will stand by to respond to any incidents during the procession.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2017.
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