THE Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Risk Reduction Management Center has advised the public to brace for the slow onset of disaster as super typhoon Ompong enters the country.
Classes in the towns of Toboso and Moises Padilla were suspended today as part of their preemptive measures for possible heavy rains and flash floods brought by Ompong.
Although Ompong is heading towards Northern Luzon, Negrenses are still advised to prepare for the enhanced southwest monsoon as an effect of the typhoon, NOPDMRRMC head Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian said.
“This will give us isolated rain showers from light to moderate and some heavy rains and thunderstorms as Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) is telling us...Pagasa sees the potential of Ompong to become a super typhoon with a strength of 205 kilometers per hour with a gustiness of 155 kph which means that Ompong is a destructive typhoon,” Caelian said.
“We are also preparing for the southwest monsoon where we have alerted all our local government units,” he added.
He also said Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. has already made an advisory, placing all local government unit operation centers under blue alert status which means that they should prepare for the slow onset of the disaster. All hospitals were also directed to be on alert with a code white alert status.
Under “code blue” alert, at least 50 percent of the total workforce will be alerted and deployed for an immediate response while “code white” alert means that all hospital personnel is on standby for deployment and emergency medicines should be stocked and made available.
“Governor Marañon told us to pray and prepare that we will be spared by calamity and disaster. We will pray for the safety of our people and the province and also, we will pray for the safety of our fellow Filipinos in Cagayan and Northern Luzon,” he said.
“For preparation for purposes, we need to be ready with our survival kit even for 72 hours. Even if we will not be hit hard, we can still use what we have prepared ahead like food and other necessities. This is a very good practice that we prepare ahead for disaster purposes. We don’t know the effect of this typhoon. We need to know how to prepare for disaster and emergencies,” he said.
The critical areas for southwest monsoon include the coastal areas such as San Enrique, Pontevedra, Valladolid, Bago City, and Pulupandan, he said.
“There are huge rivers in the Fourth District and they are considered as the catch basin of rainwater and they are always potential to experience flooding, he said.
Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco said he declared a suspension of classes in all levels today to make sure of the safety of the school children.
"Southwest monsoon which is passing through the low-level areas may trigger landslides so we want to avoid any flood-related incidents," Jaojoco said.
He said they are closely monitoring three barangays that are located in the coastal areas that include Barangay Salamanca, General Luna and Poblacion.
"A couple of days ago two fishermen (a father and his son) were killed after their small fishing boat capsized so we want to avoid such incident to happen again," Jaojoco said.
Enhanced Southwest monsoon may also trigger big waves, the mayor added.
Moises Padilla also suspended their classes, a decision taken upon the recommendation of their own local disaster council.