THERE will be no classes today in all elementary and high schools in the entire Province of Cebu, as well as Lapu-Lapu City, as tropical depression Auring approaches.

Except for kindergarten, all other classes in Cebu City will continue as usual.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, however, clarified that school principals can cancel classes if they see the need to do so because of bad weather.

Gov. Hilario Davide III, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and Mayor Osmeña gave their orders after the weather bureau raised public storm signal number one over Cebu at 11 a.m. yesterday.

Auring was projected to make landfall in Bohol at 4:30 p.m. today, and then in Cordova, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue and Cebu City between 5 and 5:30 p.m.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the tropical depression made landfall in Dinagat Island, with winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 70 kph.

Because Auring’s diameter is 300 kilometers, it will affect the entire Cebu Province, said Al Quiblat, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) in Mactan.

Commander Dionilett Ampil of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Cebu confirmed that all vessels were kept from leaving the Cebu port yesterday.

As many as 23 vessels’ trips were cancelled.

Baltazar Tribunalo, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) office, said that the governor suspended classes not only to protect pupils and teachers from wind and rain, but also to minimize the risks posed by floods and landslides.

Mayor Radaza of Lapu-Lapu suspended Monday’s classes from pre-school to high school. She also asked the public to keep safe and be ready, according to a post on the City Government’s Facebook page.

In Cebu City’s case, this is not the first time Osmeña did not order the suspension of classes despite a typhoon

warning since he assumed office last July.

Local call

Last November, during the onset of tropical depression Marce, the mayor cancelled classes in some areas only, and those schools located in safer areas were ordered to keep holding classes.

“At the end of the day, the mayor’s order is that classes will continue, but the barangays, in coordination with the school principal, have the discretion to suspend classes if the situation warrants,” Nagiel Bañacia told Sun.Star Cebu by phone. Bañacia heads the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO).

Department of Education Order 43, issued in 2012, states that any decision to cancel or suspend classes must come from the local government unit (LGU), but a school head or principal may also do it in cases where urgent action is needed.

DepEd Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Bianito Dagatan, for his part, said classes in all public and private preschool and kindergarten schools are automatically cancelled today as provided by Executive Order 66, issued also in 2012.

“As for the other grade levels, both elementary and secondary, it depends on the discretion of the LGU, in this case, the mayor, to cancel classes as head of the disaster council,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a text message.

Flooded

For his part, the Capitol’s Tribunalo said that when he roamed around the province yesterday, he found out that some schools, including Toledo City Central School, were already flooded after heavy rainfall.

“I think it’s time now for DepEd and the local government units concerned to put up a huge and wide drainage project in these areas to prevent floods,” Tribunalo said.

Governor Davide, he confirmed, has activated all the Emergency Response Teams in cities and towns, and that these will be on call 24 hours a day until the tropical depression leaves the country.

More than 100 passengers were stranded in Cebu after the trips of 23 vessels were called off.

Capt. Gimbi P. Tiongzon, chief of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) Harbor Control Center, identified the affected vessels as the Filipinas Maasin, Filipinas Butuan, Trans Asia 9, Lady of All Nations, Lite Ferry 27, Lite Ferry 28, Lite Ferry 20, Fastcat M11, Starcraft 3, Starcraft 6, Starcraft 2, St. Braquiel, Weesam Express 6, Weesam Express 3, Superjoy, Oceanjet 11, Oceanjet 168, Oceanjet 88, Oceanjet 888, Oceanjer 5, Oceanjet 2, Oceanjet 15, and Mv Mika 1.

Glenn Sarador, officer-in-charge of the Port Security, Safety and Environmental Management Department of the CPA, said that at 6 last night, there were 119 passengers stranded at Pier 1 and 70 passengers at Pier 3.