CORDILLERA GEARS UP FOR ‘ROSITA’
BAGUIO CITY — With the fatal landslide in the mining town of Itogon, Benguet still fresh in their minds, the people of Cordillera have started gearing up for a possible onslaught of Typhoon Rosita within the next few days.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said on Monday that the people in Itogon have started moving out of their places while the police and barangay officials are now going around town to tell others to do “pre-emptive evacuation” to avoid getting harmed by the typhoon.
“Our officials have started going around this morning to advise residents to do a preemptive evacuation,” Palangdan told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) over the phone.
He added that those who will not heed the local government’s advice will be forced out of their homes starting Tuesday, especially those staying in areas identified as geologically hazardous.
Palangdan said the Itogon government had identified again the Aleho Pacalso Memorial High School as an evacuation site for the residents of Barangay Ucab, where the massive landslide killed at least 80 people, mostly small-scale miners, at the height of Typhoon Ompong in mid-September.
The mayor said other evacuation sites for the other villagers of Itogon are now being identified.
After the fatal landslide, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau has declared a major portion of Itogon town as geohazard or unstable, or highly susceptible to landslides and flooding due to cracks and hollow areas underground.
Classes, gov’t offices suspended
Meanwhile, the provincial governments of Abra and Apayao announced as early as Sunday the suspension of classes in all levels in both public and private schools.
Abra Governor Jocelyn Bernos also suspended work in government agencies and offices in the landlocked province from October 29 to 31.
Bernos heads the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) of Abra. She signed Advisory No. 15 on Oct. 28, suspending classes in all levels in both public and private schools in the entire province.
The advisory also suspended work in government offices and agencies for three days, from Monday to Wednesday, ahead of All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2), which are special non-working holidays.
The advisory said it was “in consideration of the welfare and safety of the school children in Abra and in order to give ample time for government employees to prepare for the impact of another very strong typhoon (Rosita) that entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility on October 27.”
It also mentioned that the work suspension in private offices shall be at the discretion of their respective heads.
The same order raised the alert level in the whole province from “white” to “blue,” making all disaster risk reduction management councils and committees in the barangay level on guard, monitoring the weather for 24 hours.
Bernos has also ordered all offices and government agencies concerned with the delivery of disaster-related services to stay in operation to serve the public continuously.
Apayao’s order suspending classes was based on PDRRMC Memo 2018-031.
As of noontime of Monday, classes in pre-school, elementary, and high school in the provinces of Ifugao, Baguio-Benguet, Mountain Province, and Kalinga were also suspended, following the weather bureau’s announcement that the typhoon signal in the said provinces has been raised to Signal No. 2.
As early as last Friday, the Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) had raised the alert level in the entire Cordillera to “blue” and ordered the activation of all DRRM councils and committees of the barangays.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan also called for an emergency meeting on Friday of the CDRRMC and ordered the activation of all councils and the full monitoring of the weather situation in Baguio.