Palawan braces for ‘Ompong’

The disaster risk reduction management offices (DRRMOs) of the Palawan and Puerto Princesa City governments assured the public Thursday that they are prepared to respond to any effect of super typhoon “Ompong,” which has slowed down as it moves west of the Philippines.

As of 10 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the center of the super typhoon “was located based on available data” at 725 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes, packing maximum winds of 205 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 225 kph.

It has been forecasted to be moving West at 20 kph, according to the latest PAGASA weather bulletin.

Provincial government information officer Gil Acosta Jr. said they have already prepared food and other relief goods that residents will need in areas that might be affected by “Ompong” as early as last week through the Provincial DRRMO.

“Ang pinaka epekto sa atin nitong bagyo ay yong pag-intensify ng hanging habagat dito sa bandang Western ng ating lalawigan,” Acosta said in local radio interviews.

He said the province’s DRRMO has already coordinated with municipal DRRMOs for their rescuers and safety frontliners to be on standby, particularly in the towns along the west coast of Palawan.

The municipalities that face the west coast are Rizal, Bataraza, Brooke’s Point, San Vicente, Taytay, and El Nido.

“Ang tinitingnan natin ngayon at binabantayan No. 1 is yong storm surge, second is yong landslide at saka yong malakas na pag-ulan,” he said.

In Puerto Princesa City, DRRMO chief Earl Timbancaya said they have activated the city government’s incident monitoring system called “Oplan Listo” to monitor “Ompong” and its possible effects in coastal barangays.

He said it was ordered activated by Mayor Lucilo Bayron, chairman of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Ito ang sinusunod natin na protocol kapag may bagyo, ang Oplan Listo,” Timbancaya told Palawan News Thursday.

He said his office will facilitate an emergency preparedness and response meeting by the CDRRMC this Thursday afternoon for official updates by the local PAGASA office.

The CDRRMC is composed of city key officials, offices like City Health, Planning, Agriculture, Environment, Social Welfare, Engineering, CDRRMO, national agencies like Red Cross, PNP, Armed Forces, DILG, and others, including civic and first responder groups.

“Dito ay malalaman na natin anong official na i-anunsyo ng PAGASA, kung masyadong maulan ba, or minimal lang ba at kung anoang possible effects ng typhoon sa 66 barangays base on the official forecast. Dito ay susundin natin ang proseso tulad ng regular preparedness activities,” he said.

Timbancaya said food and non-food supplies are now available at the CDRRMO as part of their preparation for “Ompong.”

They consist of rice, packed food, and canned goods, while non-food are medicines and other supplies.

“Ini-inventory natin sa ngayon para makapag-siguro na merong sapat na stocks, both food and non-food items,” he said.

He said their office will do continuously monitor the weather and maintain open communication lines with the barangays.

“Ito ay para makapagbigay kaagad tayo ng update at warning sa 66 barangays through direct communication lines,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, local PAGASA weatherman Sonny Pajarilla said super typhoon “Ompong” will not have a direct impact to the province.

He said it will experience cloudy skies with rains showers until the morning of Sunday, September 16, due to “Ompong” aggravating the southwest monsoon.

“Malayo po ang bagyo sa atin kahit pumasok po ‘yan sa PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility), walang ano (impact) yan sa atin, habagat lang dahil hihilahin niya ang habagat,” Pajarilla said.

He said fishing and other sea vessels are advised not to move out to the West Philippine Sea to avoid getting caught in strong winds and waves that can be dangerous.

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