Typhoon Rosita evacuation on; missing LGU execs to face raps
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the mayors and governors to stay at their posts before, during and after the typhoon.
KJ Rosales/File
Typhoon Rosita evacuation on; missing LGU execs to face raps
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Local officials in areas threatened by Typhoon Rosita (international name Yutu) will face charges should they be found absent from their posts as the calamity sweeps through the north of the country, Malacañang said yesterday.

“They will be held accountable for neglect of duty,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, referring to the local chief executives.

Panelo said President Duterte might send Cabinet officials to areas to be hit by Rosita to oversee the response efforts of the local governments.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the mayors and governors to stay at their posts before, during and after the typhoon.

Secretary Eduardo Año, DILG officer-in-charge, issued the reminder to all local chief executives in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, the Cordilleras and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) as well as Metro Manila.

“As leaders of your localities and chairpersons of your disaster risk reduction and management councils, I expect you to be at your stations during the onslaught of Typhoon Rosita. You should personally oversee the preparations and actions needed to mitigate the impact of the typhoon on lives and properties,” Año said in an order to local chief executives (LCEs).

Sixteen mayors – nine from Cagayan Valley and seven from the Cordilleras – are being investigated for their absence as Typhoon Ompong was battering their areas last month.

Año said it is imperative for the concerned LCEs to be physically present in their areas of responsibilities, so they could come up with intelligent assessments, timely decisions and respond properly to the situation at hand.

“During critical times such as this, time is of the essence because decisions and actions should be done immediately as the lives and livelihood of the people are at stake. So the governors and mayors should be at their posts,” Año said.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Edgas Posadas said Duterte has instructed agencies to provide “effective, relevant and timely response.”

Pre-emptive evacuation

Authorities have started evacuating residents in Northern and Central Luzon ahead of Rosita’s expected landfall over southern Isabela-northern Aurora today. 

Classes were suspended since yesterday in some areas in Northern and Central Luzon, which were placed under tropical cyclone warning signals.

In Metro Manila, the city governments of Parañaque, Las Piñas and Pasig as well as Quezon City declared classes in all levels, both public and private, suspended.

Rosita was forecast to bring heavy to intense rain and strong winds over Northern and Central Luzon beginning last night, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, the eye of Rosita was at 310 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran, Aurora, packing winds of 150 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 185 kph.

It was forecast to move west at 15 kph.

PAGASA senior weather specialist Benison Estareja said Rosita was expected to make landfall over Southern Isabela-Northern Aurora between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. today.

Rosita is expected to traverse Aurora, Isabela, Quirino, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet and La Union.

The typhoon slightly weakened from 170 kph to 150 kph and changed course from west to west southwest due to a high-pressure area north of it.

It was earlier forecast to hit Cagayan-Isabela area.

PAGASA senior weather specialist Aldczar Aurelio said that although Rosita has weakened, it is still expected to dump heavy rains over Northern and Central Luzon.

Storm signals up 

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, signal No. 3 (winds of 121-170 kph expected within 18 hours) was hoisted over Isabela, Quirino, Northern Aurora, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao.

Signal No. 2 (61 to 120 kph winds expected within 24 hours) was raised over Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Abra, Kalinga, Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Northern Quezon including Polillo Island, Southern Aurora, Zambales, Pampanga and Bulacan.

Metro Manila, Southern Quezon, Batanes and Babuyan Group of Islands, Rizal, Pampanga, Laguna, Batangas, Bataan, Cavite and Camarines Norte were placed under signal No. 1 (30-60 kph winds expected within 36 hours).

Estareja said light to moderate to at times heavy rain was expected to start affecting Northern Luzon and parts of Central Luzon starting last night.

Heavy to intense rain and strong winds will affect the area as Rosita crosses these areas this morning.

Estareja warned residents against possible flashfloods and landslides.

Residents in Aurora, Cagayan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Isabela and Pangasinan were cautioned against possible storm surges that could reach two to three meters.

Metro Manila will have light to moderate to at times heavy rains today. 

PAGASA clarified that the volume of rain to be brought by Rosita would not be similar to that of Tropical Storm Ondoy, which inundated Metro Manila and nearby provinces in 2009.

Ondoy dumped 400 millimeters of rain in six hours. Rosita is expected to bring 365 mm of rain in 24 hours.

Rosita is expected to exit landmass of Northern Luzon this afternoon and leave the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow.

Light to moderate rains will continue to prevail over the western section of Northern and Central Luzon, particularly the Ilocos region, until tomorrow.

Improved weather condition is expected by Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day, except for isolated rains due to thunderstorms, PAGASA senior weather forecaster Rene Paciente said.

In Metro Manila, owners of billboards were ordered to roll down their tarpaulins in anticipation of Rosita.

Several flights between Manila and Laoag, Tuguegarao and Basco were cancelled due to the typhoon.

The Philippine Coast Guard cancelled sea travel to and from Manila.

Dams

PAGASA hydrologist Danilo Flores said major dams in Northern Luzon are still below spilling level.

PAGASA has alerted dam operators in Luzon of the possible heavy rains from Rosita days before its expected landfall.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, water levels were still normal in Magat, Ambuklao and Binga Dams in Benguet, San Roque in Pangasinan, Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija, and Angat and Ipo Dams in Bulacan. – With Helen Flores, Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan, Ghio Ong, Rainier Allan Ronda, Rudy Santos, Eva Visperas, Artemio Dumlao, Cesar Ramirez, Raymund Catindig

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT TYPHOON ROSITA WEATHER
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