Tacloban weather remains calm

CALM weather pervades around Tacloban City’s skyline Friday amid state weather bureau’s forecast on Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) heading for Eastern Visayas.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Typhoon Ruby was located at 340km east of Borongan, Eastern Samar, packing maximum winds of 195 kph near the center.

Tacloban City and the provinces of Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Samar, Northern Samar, Northern Cebu, including Cebu City, Bantayan Island and Camotes Island, Albay, Sorsogon, Ticao Island and Masbate in Luzon remained under storm signal number 2.

Pagasa forecast Typhoon Ruby to make landfall over Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area Saturday evening (December 6).

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez on Friday morning reiterated his call for everyone to evacuate or even leave the city while there is still time.

He said the declaration of suspension of classes since Thursday until Saturday has proven to be helpful for students who are not from the city to return to their respective provinces early.

“People have to realize that Tacloban is a different local government unit altogether. Here, our population is bigger on daytime…where we have four big universities, and 80 percent of the students are not from here,” he said.

He also thanked the initiative of private sector for responding and allowing their people to evacuate themselves earlier.

“Often, you will be criticized of being ‘overkill,’ but we cannot take any chances. For those who still have the chance to leave the city, I am asking them to leave now. We will take care of those who cannot take care of themselves,” Romualdez said, adding the public should have learned enough from the experiences during last year’s Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Meanwhile, Romualdez belied reports on panic buying in the city, saying those who trooped to the stores buying goods are mostly from outside Tacloban who came to the city.

“Some announced that stores are closed. That is not true. In fact, the stores and malls were opened yesterday (Thursday) and are opened today,” Romualdez said.

“The store owners have been communicating with us, and we had a meeting with the Chamber (of Commerce and Industry)…the stores are opened, except perhaps with those running out of stocks. Some stores, however, were closed because its operators are not from Tacloban and that they have to go home to prepare themselves for the typhoon, and we understand that,” he added.

He pointed out that “it will be panic (buying) if you see people just buying anything, then there will be untoward incidents. But this does not happen.”

Romualdez also said that security has already been augmented in the city from police to the military in preparation of the typhoon.

Earlier, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government was adopting all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the citizens who are on the path of Typhoon Ruby.

“We urge our people to follow the guidance of their local disaster councils that are fully supported by the national government,” Coloma said in a text message to the Philippines News Agency. (PNA/With Sunnex)

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