As the country braces for Tropical Storm (TS) “Odette”, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday reminded the public to cooperate with national and local authorities should there be a need for evacuation or other necessary actions.

In a prerecorded Talk to the People, Duterte directed government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to ensure that Filipinos, especially those who are on or near the tropical depression’s projected path, to keep monitoring the situation and conduct all necessary preparations and precautions.

“Nandiyan naman ‘yan. Iyong dadaanan ng bagyo lumalabas diyan sa news — newspaper pati sa TV (It’s all there. The areas where it will pass, it’s all in the news—newspaper and TV). All you have to do is to watch TV and makita mo ‘yung trajectory, ang takbo ng bagyo (and you will see the outlook of the storm),” he said.

He also called on the public to comply with advisories issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

“Kung malapit kayo diyan, medyo umalis na muna kayo (So if you are near the affected areas, temporarily evacuate), especially if the PAGASA, the weather bureau would say umalis kayo diyan sa lugar na ‘yan kasi diyan tatama (evacuate because it will hit the area),” he added.

Earlier, Malacañang said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is making the necessary preparations in coordination with the regional and local disaster risk reduction and management councils to ensure the safety of the public.

As of Sunday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has available stockpiles and standby funds earmarked for disaster response.

Based on the 11 p.m. weather bulletin Monday, PAGASA said the center of Tropical Storm Rai was estimated at 1,585 kilometers east of Mindanao and still outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

The weather bureau said once inside PAR, the tropical cyclone will be named “Odette” as it maintains its strength while moving west northwestward towards Palau with maximum sustained winds of 65 km per hour near the center and gustiness up to 80 kph.

It is forecast to reach typhoon category on Wednesday and may make landfall in the vicinity of Caraga and Eastern Visayas by Thursday afternoon or evening.

Postponing vaccination days
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III proposed the postponement of the second simultaneous vaccine drive against Covid-19 in areas that are expected to be affected by the tropical depression.

“Mr. President, si [Testing Czar] Secretary Vince Dizon at si [Vaccine Czar] Secretary [Carlito] Galvez at kami po kasama si [Interior] Secretary Ed Año ay nagkasundo na magrekomenda po na itong Bagyong Odette na paparating at mukhang magiging tropical storm ay kami po ay nagrerekomenda na ang atin National Vaccination Part 2 ay ipo-postpone muna natin doon sa mga dadaanan po ng bagyo (Mr. President, Secretary Vince Dizon, Galvez and Ed Año agreed to recommend postponing the National Vaccination Part 2 amid the approaching tropical storm),” Duque said.

Instead of holding the Bayanihan, Bakunahan Vaccination Days on Dec. 15-17, Duque said they recommended moving it to Dec. 20 to 22 in affected areas.

“Posible pong Northern Mindanao, ang Central and Eastern Visayas, at ang Southern Tagalog region ay hindi po na muna natin itutuloy ang bakunahan dahil kinakailangan po mailayo sa peligro ang atin pong mga kababayan sa panahon nitong Bagyong Odette (It’s possible that we will postpone the vaccination drive in Norther Mindanao, Central and Eastern Visayas, as well as Southern Tagalog because we need to ensure the safety of our countrymen during typhoon Odette),” he added.

He said Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Northern Luzon can proceed with the original vaccination days on Dec. 15-17.

The first Bayanihan, Bakunahan event lasted for five days from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, administering over 10.2 million doses of vaccine.

The second Bayanihan, Bakunahan round aims to surpass the national government’s target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos by yearend. (PNA)