Negros Occidental and Bacolod City went on red alert yesterday after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) placed 22 towns and cities under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 2, and the rest of the province under Signal No. 1.
It also placed the entire Negros Oriental under Signal No. 1.
The eye of Typhoon “Tisoy” made landfall in Gubat, Sorsogon at 11 last night, PAGASA said.
It was moving west at 15 kph with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 240 kph, it added.
Classes are automatically suspended from pre-school to senior high school in areas covered by Signal No. 2, and from pre-school to kindergarten for Signal No. 1, Executive Order No. 66 series of 2012 states.
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have cancelled flights in and out of Bacolod today, while the Philippine Coast Guard said sea travel will remain suspended as long as typhoon signal is in place.
Areas that were placed under Signal No. 2 were northern Negros Occidental, Bacolod, Talisay, Silay, Victorias, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, San Carlos, Bago and La Carlota cities; Calatrava, Enrique B. Magalona, Manapla, Toboso, Murcia, Salvador Benedicto, Pulupandan, Valladolid, San Enrique, Pontevedra, La Castellana and Moises Padilla towns.
Also under Signal No. 2 in Western Visayas were Aklan, Capiz, Antique and Iloilo.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said he raised the alert status in Negros Occidental to red and declared Code White for district hospitals and health offices.
Red alert requires all Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC) operations centers to be operational 24/7 and ready to respond, Lacson said, but he added that he was still hoping the province would not be hit hard.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia also declared a red alert in Bacolod City and ordered the cancellation of classes from pre-school to high school levels today.
Leonardia, chair of the Bacolod City DRRMC, called for an emergency meeting at the Bacolod City Government Center yesterday for a pre-disaster risk assessment of Typhoon “Tisoy.”
The Bacolod DRRMO Command Center hotlines are 4323879 or 4323871 to 73 or 0922-3487878, and the Bacolod City Police Office – City Tactical Operations Center number is 0907-2780149, the mayor’s office said.
Lt. Commander Jansen Benjamin, Philippine Coast Guard Bacolod chief, said all sea travel was cancelled yesterday and will remain so today as long as there is a typhoon signal over the province.
The PCG reported 335 stranded passengers in Negros Occidental and 153 rolling cargoes. Nineteen vessels halted operations, it said.
Jose Ma. Vargas, Bacolod DRRMC cluster head, said they brought the stranded passengers to the Education and Training Center School ( ETCS) 4 in Barangay 16 for temporary shelter until sea travel resumes.
NO FLIGHTS TODAY
Flights to and from Bacolod were not cancelled yesterday, but PAL and Cebu Pacific announced the cancellation of flights today.
Philippine Airlines cancelled three Manila-Bacolod, two Bacolod- Manila and Clark-Bacolod flights today for the safety of its passengers, PAL Bacolod manager Rene Aviles said.
Cebu Pacific said its weather forecasts show the typhoon will bring winds of over 50 knots over greater Metro Manila today. In the light of new information regarding unfavorable and potentially unsafe weather conditions, it said it is cancelling five Manila-Bacolod and five Bacolod Manila flights today.
Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, Provincial Disaster Management Program Division chief, said the Army and police have joined the provincial DRRMC operational center in preparation for “Tisoy”.
The army in Negros is on alert posture in preparation for typhoon “Tisoy”, Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.
Thirty-four Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) teams from the 303rd Infantry Brigade, 62nd Infantry Battalion, 79th Infantry Battalion and 94th Infantry Battalion composed of 350 regular soldiers would be deployed in the 1st to 5th districts of Negros Occidental and 1st district of Negros Oriental, he said.
The HADR teams are trained in basic first aid, and light and water search and rescue operations, Arevalo said.
“I want the troops to be always ready and alert both in times of natural calamities and man-made disasters, since the lives and safety of the people are of paramount importance. But the attainment of this objective is based on a strong collaboration and cooperation among the local government units, agencies and stakeholders,” he added.*
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