By Francis Wakefield
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) together with its Regional DRRM Councils has raised its alert status to “Blue” effective 1 p.m. Monday due to the possible effects of Tropical Depression Henry.
The decision to raise the alert status to Blue was done following the predisaster risk assessment meeting at the NDRRM Operations Center in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
NDRRMC executive director and Civil Defense administrator Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad presided over the meeting attended by representatives from NDRRMC member-agencies namely: Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Department of Transportation, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Department of Public Works and Highways, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, National Economic Development Authority, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and Department of Education.
Likewise, Regional DRRM Councils 1, 2, 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, 5, 6, 7, 8, NCR, and CAR joined the meeting via videoconference.
Tropical depression Henry maintained its strength as it moves toward extreme Northern Luzon. According to PAGASA, TD Henry was located at 400 km east of Aparri, Cagayan with a maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph moving west at 25 kph.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 1 is raised in Batanes, northern portion of Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands, northern portion of Apayao, and northern portion of Ilocos Norte. Occasional rains with gusty winds are expected over these areas. Further, very light or no damage in high-risk structures while light to medium damage in low-risk structures are possible.
The tropical depression is expected to pass in the vicinity of the Babuyan Group of Islands Monday night.
Meanwhile, southwest monsoon or “Habagat” will continue to affect Metro Manila, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro Provinces, Palawan and Western Visayas. Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms may be experienced over the rest of Luzon.
Residents in landslide and flood-prone areas are advised to take the necessary precautions as early as possible. Fishersfolk and those with small seacraft are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of areas under TCWS 1, and the western seaboards of Luzon due to moderate to rough seas.
TD Henry is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Tuesday (July 17).
DILG has advised all local government units to implement preparedness activities in accordance with the Operation Listo protocols. DSWD ensured the availability of sufficient relief items including standby funds and the prepositioning of necessary food and nonfood Items.
The public is advised to heed the call of local DRRM councils for evacuation if the need arises.
Everyone is also encouraged to prepare, and not to be complacent about the prevailing weather situation. All are enjoined to monitor updates on these weather systems through radio, TV and social media.