Francis Tolentino named 'Ompong' focal person

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino as the focal person in the government's preparations for Typhoon Ompong.

"May I ask Atty. Tolentino, si Francis, just to be my conduit? I may be around somewhere. I may decide to go out. So I really do not know," Duterte said during a command conference in Camp Aguinaldo Quezon City on Thursday, September 13.

"In my behalf, he (Tolentino) just [has to get] the information that are available, the things that we want to know along the way while the typhoon is in progress. Ikaw na lang ang conduit ko sa kanila para isa na lang (You will be my conduit so I will get information just from you) then I can have the whole gamut of information," he added.

Duterte was briefed by the Cabinet and disaster officials about the government's preparations for Typhoon Ompong.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, the eye of the typhoon was spotted at 575 kilometers east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes.

It is packing maximum sustained winds of 205 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 255 kph.

Ompong is expected to make landfall in Cagayan-Isabela area on Saturday morning, September 15.

Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal number 1 was hoisted over two dozen provinces, as Ompong moved closer to the country.

Signal number one was raised over Batanes; Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands; Apayao; Abra; Kalinga; Mountain Province; Ifugao; Isabela; Benguet; Quirino; Nueva Viscaya; Aurora; Nueva Ecija; Bulacan; Rizal; Laguna; Quezon, including Polillo Island; Camarines Norte; Camarines Sur; Catanduanes; Albay; Sorsogon; Northern Samar; Burias; and Ticao Island.

Duterte advised heads of agencies to have "constant" communication to ensure the government's readiness to deal with expected hazards that will be brought about by the typhoon.

"I think that at this time, we should have one [communication] line only para isang tawagan lang (so it would be easier to communicate)," the President said. (SunStar Philippines)


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