Storm spares Cebu; sea trips back
May B. Miasco, Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad (The Freeman) - January 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — With tropical depression Amang having changed course, the state weather bureau lifted yesterday its typhoon warning signal for northern Cebu.

As a result, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Central Visayas had given sea vessels there the green light to travel again.

In PCG’s latest count, 1,521 passengers were stranded at Cebu ports and piers as of Monday, January 21, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Some 118 passenger and cargo vessels also remained docked at Cebu ports as of that time.

CGD-CV spokesperson Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina said stranded passengers reduced to 423 later in the afternoon after the weather bureau lifted its Storm Warning Signal No. 1 for northern Cebu at 11 a.m.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMO) reported about a hundred passengers grounded at the ports in Danao City and Hagnaya, San Remigio town, but they were able to leave the ports safely at 11 a.m. yesterday.

At least seven local government units in the north suspended classes yesterday, including Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Danao City, Medellin, San Remigio, and Santa Fe, and Bogo City.

The proactive suspension of classes at the basic education levels, which was announced through the social media platforms of the respective LGUs, earned PDRRMO’s commendation.

“It’s very good. People were very busy sa Sinulog, unya ang LCEs [local chief executives] and the LDRRMOs gyud na ang mo-make sa localized early warning ug lifting (It’s really the local chief executives and local disaster offices that should announce the suspensions),” said PDRRMO head Baltazar Tribunalo.

According to Tribunalo, the fact that more towns and cities now proactively decide on their own is a sign that their disaster preparedness skills have improved.

He reported that there was zero casualty in the north as no typhoon-related incident had happened.

In Cebu City and the province, the weather yesterday had already improved from the previous day with Amang seen to weaken into a low pressure area (LPA) within the next 12 hours based on the 5 p.m. bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Adminsitration (PAGASA).

PAGASA Visayas chief Alfredo Quiblat Jr. said storm warning signal for northern Cebu and eastern Bohol were lifted on Monday morning as Amang receded away from Cebu landmass.

Amang was last seen heading Samar. Based on Sunday’s forecast, it was to pass near Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu but changed movement or direction from northwest to northward.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, the center of Amang was spotted hovering over the seas about 105 kilometers east of Catarman town, northern Samar.

Nevertheless, some areas of the country are still prone to winds, rains, and floods due to the weather disturbance, said Quiblat.

The state weather bureau has specifically warned those living in landslide- and flood-prone villages in the provinces of Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, and Northern Samar.

In addition, boats and small vessels are still advised not to head out to the open seas, especially in the Visayas and Luzon areas.

Encina said though the “no sailing” declaration was already lifted on late Monday morning, other sea travels were still called off because their destinations were still placed under storm warning signal.

Data from the PCG in Central Visayas showed that as of 5 p.m. yesterday, trips to Sorsogon, Masbate, and Ticao island, as well as to Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Samar, Biliran, and Leyte were still suspended. (FREEMAN)

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