PASSENGER vessels that were stranded in Cebu because of Tropical Storm Vinta will be allowed to sail on Saturday, December 23.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) downgraded Vinta’s intensity to a tropical depression and lifted its storm warning signal in Cebu, Bohol and most parts of the Visayas and Mindanao on Friday.
When Vinta made landfall in Cateel, Davao Oriental at Friday dawn, more than 500 passengers were stranded in various ports in southern Cebu.
Some of those stranded were eager to go home to their families for the holiday break.
As of 7 p.m. Friday night, Vinta was over Zamboanga Sibugay and moving towards Sulu Sea.
Pagasa reported that Vinta’s center was within the vicinity of Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
It has weakened significantly, now carrying maximum sustained winds of 60 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 90 kph.
Pagasa said Vinta is forecast to move west at 20 kph.
Signal No.1 had been raised in Southern Palawan, Southern Negros Oriental, Siquijor, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.
But before Vinta weakened, those traveling by boat had to endure a long wait when it made landfall in Mindanao on Friday.
Commander Jerome Cayabyab, head of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu station, said that 59 passenger vessels and 168 rolling cargo vessels were not allowed to sail when Vinta made its first landfall yesterday.
Around 2,809 passengers postponed their trips.
Ports in Cebu that were affected included Hagnaya in San Remigio; Polambato in Bogo City; Bantayan, Tabuelan, Danao City, Liloan Port in Santander, Consuelo, in San Francisco, Camotes; and piers in Cebu City.
Passengers bound for the cities of Zamboanga, Dumaguete and Bacolod had to stay for an extended time at the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) after their buses were not allowed to leave.
Joy Tumulak, CSBT security officer, told reporters that since Thursday, they have not allowed buses bound for these cities to leave.
As of yesterday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported no incidents in southern Cebu related to Vinta.
But in the City of Naga, a barangay road connecting to Barangays Alpaco and Tagjaguimit partially collapsed on Friday due to rains.
PDRRMO deployed a monitoring and response team yesterday to southern Cebu.
PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo said they had coordinated with Cebu Electric Co., Department of Public Works and Highways and local government responders to monitor and assess the situations in their areas.
Tribunalo said all outdoor tourism activities were canceled.
As of Friday morning in Argao, 10 passengers and 21 vehicles bound for Bohol were stranded in Taloot, Argao Wharf.
In Oslob, 46 tourists were stranded in Sumilon Island.
In Samboan, more than 500 passengers were stranded in Liloan, Bato Port.
In Santander, an estimated 500 passengers were also stranded.
Tribunalo said they received incident reports that there were landslides in Sibonga but these have yet to be verified. (JKV/USJ-R Interns Rolyn May Jumao-as and John Paul Fajardo)