METRO Cebu and northern Cebu are under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal Number 1, even after Typhoon Tisoy has slightly weakened.
The affected areas are Carcar City from the south all the way up to Bogo City in the north, including the islands of Bantayan and Camotes.
A tropical cyclone wind signal is the same as a tropical storm signal, but the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) wants to emphasize that it is measuring wind strength and not the amount of rain the weather disturbance brings.
As of 5 p.m., Sunday, December 1, 2019, the center of Tisoy was located 595 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes packing maximum winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 170 km/h, moving west at 20 km/h, according to the Pagasa advisory.
Pagasa officer-in-charge Alfredo Quiblat said Metro Cebu and northern Cebu can expect light to moderate rain on Monday, December 2. However, 30 to 60 km/h wind is also expected in these areas, strong enough to topple some trees and posts, among others, said Quiblat.
Sailing in small boats and fastcraft under this condition is dangerous, he said.
19 trips have already been canceled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Cebu and Bohol after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7 suspended sea travel in some parts of Visayas and Luzon due to the typhoon.
In an advisory released at 5 a.m. on Sunday, the PCG 7 canceled trips from Cebu and Bohol to Samar, Eastern and Northern Samar, Biliran, Camotes Island and Leyte in the Visayas.
Barred from sailing
Trips from both provinces to Catanduanes, Masbate, Burias, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and Ticao Island in Luzon have also been canceled.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Michael John Encina, PCG 7 spokesman, said the suspension of boat trips may continue for several days since Tisoy is expected to be in the Philippine Area of Responsibility until later this week.
In Cebu City, MV St. Camael, MV Ocean Jet 8 and MV Ocean Jet 11 bound for Ormoc, Leyte were barred from leaving Pier 1.
The trip of MV Melrivic 2 from Polambato in Bogo City to Palompon, Leyte was also canceled.
The other canceled trips are Bantayan-Cadiz, Negros Occidental (MBCA Super SM Express), Bantayan Island-Estancia, Iloilo (MV Balt Bep Journey) and Tabuelan-Escalante, Negros Occidental (LCT Tabuelan Navistar).
Four trips from the Hagnaya Port in San Remigio to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island have also been canceled, as well as the trip from Pier 4 in Cebu City to Siargao Island (MV Starlite Stella Maris).
Three vessels were also barred from sailing from Pilar, Camotes to Ormoc, Leyte on Sunday.
The trip of MBCA KCQ from Bokok via Esperanza, Camotes to Ormoc, Leyte and the trip of MV Mika Mari 3 from Consuelo, Camotes to Danao City was also canceled.
Passengers waiting in different ports in Cebu were forced to go home after being told that their trips were canceled.
As of press time, the PCG 7 had yet to come up with the list of affected passengers.
Meanwhile, Quiblat said there is a possibility that Typhoon Tisoy will move a little to the south, then Signal Number 2 will be raised over northern Cebu.
As Tisoy maintains its strength, classes in Metro Cebu and northern Cebu public schools have been canceled on Monday, December 2, as part of the Provincial Government’s preemptive measures.
“Suspension of classes for preschool and elementary levels for Metro Cebu. Suspension of classes for preschool, elementary and high school levels for northern Cebu,” Governor Gwendolyn Garcia told SunStar Cebu in a text message Sunday night.
The suspension of classes in private schools will depend on the discretion of their respective school heads.
Those attending private schools may contact their respective schools.
Since the cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu are independent and not under provincial supervision, the suspension of classes will depend on their local chief executives.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has yet to announce whether classes are suspended.
He said he will still coordinate with the weather bureau and will make his official announcement on Monday morning.
According to Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 43 s. 2012, public and private preschool and kindergarten classes are automatically canceled or suspended when Pagasa raises Signal Number 1.
When Signal Number 2 is raised, public and private preschool, kindergarten, elementary and secondary classes in affected areas are automatically canceled or suspended.
Ready for evacuation
In the absence of typhoon signal warnings from Pagasa, localized suspension of classes in both public and private schools and work in government offices may be implemented by local chief executives in their capacity as chairpersons of the local disaster risk reduction and management council.
As this developed, families residing in coastal communities and low-lying areas have been advised to voluntarily evacuate should the weather condition worsen.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Neil Angelo Sanchez said local DRRM teams of the affected towns and cities were directed to stay on full alert and conduct preemptive evacuation if need be.
“But it would also be helpful if the residents themselves will initiate and voluntarily evacuate to help our local DRRM,” Sanchez said in Cebuano.
The PDRRMO has been monitoring conditions in coastlines and low-lying areas since Saturday, November 30.
“So far, (as of 8 p.m. Sunday) we don’t have any incident reports except for a few passengers that were stranded at the Hagnaya Port (San Remigio) due to cancellation of trips,” Sanchez told SunStar Cebu in a text message.
He said he had asked the governor to convene the disaster response cluster on Monday so that the Capitol can implement more holistic preparations for Typhoon Tisoy.
The cluster is composed of the PDRRMO, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, PCG, Cebu Provincial Police Office, Philippine Red Cross Cebu Chapter and Pagasa.
With regards to Cebu City’s disaster preparation, Mayor Labella said all its equipment and trucks are on standby, adding that the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office is on watch 24 hours, starting on Monday.
City Councilor Dave Tumulak, committee on disaster risk reduction management chairman, urged the city’s 80 barangays to prioritize senior citizens and children if the situation worsens.
With wind measuring 30 to 60 km/h, residents of mountain barangays should stay alert, he said.
Tumulak also assured that evacuation centers in the barangays have been prepared. (KDF, RTF, JJL, HBL / LRC)