‘Habagat’ forces class suspensions

Published July 17, 2018, 9:40 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz

Monsoon rains and floods tormented a big part of Luzon and Western Visayas yesterday, resulting in the widespread suspension of work and classes even as tropical storm “Henry” exited the country.


Meanwhile, another weather disturbance east of the country will likely develop into tropical depression “Inday.”

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has lifted all storm warning signals hoisted over northern Luzon but said Henry was to continue enhancing the southwest monsoon or “habagat,” which dumped moderate to heavy rains over Metro Manila, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan and Western Visayas yesterday.

Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms prevailed over the rest of the country.

Residents of these areas, especially those living in low-lying and mountainous areas, were advised to continue monitoring PAGASA updates, coordinate with their local disaster risk reduction and management offices, and take appropriate actions against possible flooding and landslides.

From a tropical depression, Henry intensified into a storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

Henry made landfall over Dalupiri Island, Cagayan around 1:30 a.m. yesterday and then exited to the West Philippine Sea.

It was already outside the Philippine area of responsibility or about 415 kilometers (km) west of Calayan Island, Cagayan province before noon. It was moving westward relatively fast at 45 kph.

Meanwhile, PAGASA said the LPA at 915 km east of Aparri, Cagayan could develop into a tropical depression within 36 hours.

It will be named “Inday” once it becomes a cyclone.

PAGASA advised fisherfolk and seafarers to prevent from setting sail into the sea as sea travel remains risky over the western seaboard of Southern Luzon.

The surge of southwest monsoon will likely prevail throughout the week, PAGASA said.

Work, classes suspended
The stormy weather compelled Malacañang to suspend government work and classes in public schools in Metro Manila on Tuesday afternoon.

The work and class suspension, contained in Memorandum Circular No. 47 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, was issued following the recommendation of the government’s disaster relief authorities.

“Upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and in view of the continuing inclement weather brought about Typhoon ‘Henry,’ work in government offices and classes in public schools at all levels in Metro Manila, are hereby suspended effective 1:00 P.M. today, 17 July 17 2018,” the memorandum read.

Exempted from the work suspension are government agencies involved in the delivery of basic and health services, disaster relief and response, and performance of other vital services. They are expected to continue with their operations and render the necessary services, according to Medialdea.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio also ordered the suspension of work at the Supreme Court starting noon “in view of the continuous rains and flooding in areas leading to the SC.”

The suspension of work for private companies, offices and schools, on the other hand, has been left to the discretion of their respective heads.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) suspended work and the voter registration in their field offices affected by the bad weather.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez announced the decision of the en banc just before noon Tuesday.

NDRRMC report

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said that a total of 351 passengers, five vessels and three motorbancas were stranded in Port of Palawan and Cagayan due to Henry.

In its latest situational report (SitRep) No. 1 for TS Henry and the enhanced Southwest Monsoon, the NDRRMC also said that four families (15 persons) were affected after strong winds occurred in Purok Balinghoy, Barangay Busay, in Bago City, Negros Occidental at 10:12 a.m. Monday.

As a result, a total of four houses were totally damaged. Fortunately, no casualties were reported in the incident.

Classes in 92 cities/municipalities in Regions III, CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and National Capital Region (NCR), were also suspended Tuesday due to bad weather.

Reports also added that a total of seven barangays were flooded in Sta. Cruz and Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

Pumping stations

Despite the downpour, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said that no major thoroughfare got flooded to the point of being impassable due to the efficient performance of the pumping stations.

“So far, there are no reported flooding on major thoroughfares . [There are currently] three pumping stations working which resulted to less flooding,” MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia said.

His observation covered the flood-prone areas of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Malabon, Pasig, and Paranaque.

Rescue rides

Various government agencies offered free rides to stranded commuters on flooded streets in Metro Manila.

The Joint Quick Response Team for Transportation dispatched military trucks on different portions of flooded Metro Manila.

The team were composed of the Department of Transportation, Metro Manila Development Authority, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Health.

Two Philippine Coast Guard trucks were dispatched at LRT Line 1 R. Papa Station to transport stranded passengers up to Pedro Gil Street via Taft Avenue.

Meanwhile, the number coding scheme for city buses and private vehicles was lifted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday afternoon.

The suspension was triggered by the flash floods reported in Metro Manila, with some roads temporarily impassable to light vehicles. (With reports from Genalyn Kabiling, Francis Wakefield, Jel Santos, Rey Panaligan, Leslie Ann Aquino, and Alexandria Dennise San Juan)