‘If weather stirs Mactan Channel, call off procession’

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7 announced that there will be no seaborne parade on Saturday morning, Jan. 19, if there is zero visibility at the Mactan Channel.

Bad weather is expected on Saturday because of the low pressure area (LPA) off Mindanao. The LPA is a potential tropical depression that may enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Friday, Jan. 18 or on Saturday.

PCG 7 spokesperson Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina said the cancellation will be for the safety of participants.

Encina, however, said that if the ugly weather is tolerable, the seaborne parade will continue.

If the weather is bad, the PCG 7 will not let the Spanish replica galleon carrying the images of the Holy Child and Our Lady of Guadalupe sail to the seawaters off Barangay Pasil, Cebu City. The boats will sail directly to Pier 1.

Encina said the Mactan Channel will be closed at 4 a.m. on Saturday.

A notice to mariners was sent by PCG 7, telling ship operators that no vessels will be allowed to go in and out of the channel.

The participants of the seaborne parade, Encina said, should be in the Mactan Channel before 4 a.m.

The boat owners who want to join the seaborne parade are urged to get permits from the Marine Industry Authority and register their boats at the Cebu Coast Guard Station.

Encina said the registration will end today, Jan. 17.

If the LPA becomes a tropical storm and hits Cebu on Jan. 20, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Sciences Administration (Pagasa) will raise the alert to signal one.

Al Quiblat, the chief of Pagasa Mactan and Pagasa Visayas, told SunStar Cebu that the LPA is about 2,000 kms. east of Northern Mindanao, but its intensity is changing fast.

If the worst scenario will happen, the center of the storm will hit between Northern Cebu and Metro Cebu maybe between late evening of Jan. 20 or at dawn of Jan. 21.

If the LPA will become a storm and has a category and will make landfall in northeastern Mindanao, Pagasa will raise signal number one 36 hours before the storm will arrive based on the law. FROM HBL OF SUPERBALITA CEBU, KAL, EOB


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