Classes suspended in 3 towns due to ‘Ompong’

Classes have been suspended in three municipalities in Palawan on Friday due to possible effects of super typhoon “Ompong.”

Grace Estefano, information officer of the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) in Palawan, said San Vicente and Balabac towns have suspended classes in all levels while Taytay canceled only those in elementary level (K12).

Estefano said the suspension of classes in the three towns were declared by their municipal chief executives.

A copy of the DepEd memorandum order  sent to the media from their regional office did not suggest any cancellation of classes but advised: “precautionary measures to be undertaken” regarding Ompong.”

The order signed by Benjamin Paragas, DepEd director III and officer-in-charge regional director, the memorandum dated September 14 is addressed to schools division superintendents, information officers, and disaster risk reduction focal persons.

Among the precautionary measures are to ensure the safety of school books, pertinent files, and other important materials; secure weak parts and electrical wirings of their schools; immediately report casualty cases; monitor schools in landslide-prone areas; establish information dissemination to all media to lessen public panic; and closely coordinate with local government units (LGUs).

In the province, Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Jerry Alili said so far “no municipality has implemented any preemptive evacuation.”

“Wala pa namang preemptive evacuation. Ang report sa atin ng sitwasyon ay cloudy with light rains lang sa mga mino-monitor na municipalities,” Alili said.

In Calamianes composed of the island towns of Coron, Culion, Busuanga, and Linapacan, he said the weather has been observed to be “cloudy with no untoward incident so far.”

In southern Palawan’s nine municipalities, the weather is “cloudy with light rains.”

In the northern area, he said it is “sunny” in the municipality of Roxas, but cloudy with light rains in nine others.

A statement Wednesday from the Provincial Information Office said the PDRRMO and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) have prepared 5,430 food packs; 256 rice bags; 523 gallons of mineral water; and other non-food relief items.

Kalayaan island town in the disputed West Philippine Sea waters, where “Ompong” is expected to traverse, has not suspended classes, said Joy Gabinete, assistant in the municipal DRRMO.

“Wala pong suspension ng classes kasi di naman ganoon kalakas ang ulan… occasional rainfalls lang at yong dagat moderate-to-rough na occasional lang din,” Gabinete said.

She said there are currently 47 households in the island municipality composed of less than a hundred residents who can “immediately evacuate to their training center just in case.”

They also have enough rice and other food supply stocks

“We prepared early in the municipal DRRMO in case Ompong will bring us strong winds and waves,” Gabinete said.

State weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’ (PAGASA) latest weather bulletin said: “Ompong is maintaining its strength as it continues to move to the Isabela-Cagayan area.”

Ompong’s center was located “based on all available data” at 540 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora, carrying maximum winds of 205 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 255 kph.

The southwest monsoon enhanced by Ompong, PAGASA said, “will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains over the Visayas, while scattered light-to-moderate to at times heavy rains over Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindana, and Caraga.”

PAGASA warned “residents in these areas, especially those living near river channels, in low-lying areas and in mountainous areas, are advised to take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslides, coordinate with local disaster risk reduction and management offices, and to continue monitoring for updates.” (PNA)

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