ABOUT 500 stranded passengers bound for Iloilo and other areas in Panay Island were assisted by the City Government of Bacolod Monday, December 2, after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)-Bacolod suspended all sea trips at the Bacolod Real Estate and Development Corporation (Bredco) port due to Typhoon “Tisoy” (international name Kammuri).
Executive Assistant Jose Maria Vargas, head of Cluster on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), said Monday the stranded passengers were given food, personal kit and were transferred to the Education and Training Center School (ETCS)-IV for the meantime.
“We don’t want them to stay inside the port with no foods and temporary shelter. We will also set up a medical team in the area,” he said.
He added the stranded passengers will stay in the area while waiting for the final announcement of PCG-Bacolod to lift the suspension of sea trips.
Vargas said classes in pre-elementary level, both public and private, were automatically suspended Monday since Bacolod was placed by Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) under Signal No. 1.
On Friday, City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has issued a memorandum directing the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC), especially its implementing arm the CDRRMO, all the village officials and allied agencies of Bacolod to go on “Blue Alert” in preparation for the approaching Typhoon Tisoy once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility.
Vargas said the CDRRMO command center is in constant monitoring of the Pagasa severe weather bulletin and posting in the social media through Facebook for wide dissemination, and monitoring the city’s weather condition through the 39 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in strategic areas.
He said the typhoon is expected to make landfall until Friday and they are ready for it including the equipment and the rescue team.
“We are constantly monitoring the 61 barangays especially the flood prone areas such as barangays 2, 8, 10, 12, Banago, Bata, Pahanocoy, Alijis, and Taculing,” he added.
The DRRMC also tasked the officials to identify their evacuation area within their respective villages.
Leonardia also clarified that based on the Executive Order No. 66 Series of 2012 when Signal No.1 is raised by Pagasa, classes at the pre-school level, in the affected area, shall be automatically cancelled or suspended even without a proclamation from the city government officials.
He said when Signal No. 2 is raised by Pagasa, classes in pre-school level, elementary and high school including senior high school are also automatically suspended, and for Signal No. 3, classes in all levels are suspended including work in government offices.
This, after Leonardia was criticized by some netizens on Facebook for not declaring the suspension of classes in Bacolod Monday while other towns and cities in Negros Occidental had declared the suspension of classes after some parts of Negros Occidental including Bacolod City was already placed by Pagasa in Signal No. 1.
“The circumstances in Bacolod are not exactly the same with other towns and cities in Negros Occidental. It doesn’t mean that we will simply follow what the others are declaring, we have to think in terms of the actual situation and circumstances that will be prevailing in Bacolod when we declare matters like this,” Leonardia said.
Meanwhile, in San Carlos City, 120 passengers bound for Toledo City, Cebu were also stranded in port. The Barcelona port in Escalante City, on the other hand, recorded around 50 passengers and 155 rolling cargoes stranded.
Banago and Pulupandan ports, however, have not recorded any stranded passengers.
PCG-Southern Visayas District operations chief, Ensign Darell John Hernaez said the PCG in Negros Occidental has been placed on alert since last week after the country’s weather bureau started tracking the storm.
The PCG in Negros Occidental has also ordered its personnel to prepare its quick response teams.
Earlier on Sunday, the PCG immediately suspended all sea trips in the northern part of Negros Occidental after the areas were placed under Storm Signal No. 1.