By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) Tuesday said its forces alongside with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) are preparing for the imminent threat typhoon “Mangkhut” may bring to Northern and Central Luzon.
Mangkhut is forecast to enter the Philippines’ area of responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday, September 12, and is believed to bring strong winds and a large amount of rainfall. It is still tarrying in the waters maintaining its strength, with maximum winds of 160 km per hour (kph).
The NDRRMC is already on alert for the possible onslaught of typhoon “Ompong” (Filipino name for Typhoon “Mangkhut” upon entering PAR).
All local DRRM councils were advised to revisit their respective contingency plans, utilize all early warning systems (EWS) such as short messaging system (SMS), social media platforms and others to ensure widest dissemination of weather updates and advisories.
At the same time, NoLCom is advising the public to suspend other outdoor activities like caving and surfing, and to take precautionary measures around areas which are susceptible to floods and landslides and prepare for preemptive evacuations for communities at risk.
Major Ericson C. Bulosan, acting chief of NoLCom Public Information Office, said they have alerted all their ground forces (Army, Navy, Airforce including their Reservists) to be on standby and are now in position to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations (HADRO) with their military resources such as helicopters and navy vessels which are ready for use if the need arises.
“NoLCom is working hand in hand with the RDRRMC, OCD and other stakeholders in preparing measures and contingency plans for the imminent threats of typhoon “Mangkhut”. NoLCom is ready and on standby to extend assistance like disaster response and relief work, with their objective of minimizing the damage this forthcoming typhoon may bring, staying true to its mandate of safeguarding the wellbeing of the people in its area of responsibility,” Bulosan said.
NoLCom chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat said they have set warning advisory to be disseminated to all units and LGUs in coordinated with regional OCDs as part of their ongoing preparation.
In a statement, Salamat said they have also coordinated with their respective regional OCDs to establish a regional emergency operation center to facilitate coordination and reporting of HADR (Humanitarian and Disaster Relief) activities and incidents.
“Depending on the effects of the typhoon early advice evacuation wouid be necessary as part of advisory warning.We have also declared blue and red alert level to ensure level of preparedness of all our units. Respective regional OCDs also to meet as soon as possible today and tomorrow for coordinated efforts and readiness response,” Salamat said.