By Antonio Colina IV and Junar Fenequito
DAVAO CITY – The Davao City government provided free bus rides for stranded commuters, starting 1 p.m. Tuesday, after the low pressure area (LPA) brought heavy rains here that kept many public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers from plying their usual routes.
According to the City Information Office, Dionisio Abude, chief of the City Traffic and Transportation Management Office ( CTTMO ), dispatched 15 buses to the City Hall of Davao area to pick up passengers bound for Toril, Calinan, Bunawan, and Buhangin.
The city government also canceled classes in all levels of public and private schools, and later announced the cancellation of work at City Hall on Tuesday.
“Our instruction to the bus companies is that they will be around as long as there are still passengers who are stranded. We do not have an exact time as to when will the bus deployment stop,” Abude said.
He added “free lugaw (porridge)” will be distributed to the stranded commuters at the City Hall to keep them warm.
Abude said police would be deployed to ensure the safety of the passengers.
According to the weather advisory issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) at 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Tropical Depressed “Chedeng” has already weakened into an LPA.
At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the LPA was estimated in the vicinity of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
Meanwhile, the Davao Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) remained on alert even if TD Chedeng had already been downgraded to an LPA.
This was disclosed by PDRRMO head Harry Chester Camoro, who said his team was continuing to monitor now the rains being brought by the LPA since this could also bring flash floods and landslides, especially to the disaster-prone communities.
“What we are monitoring in this tropical depression is not the wind but the rain that will be brought by this,” he said.
Camoro said he already dispatched teams to monitor the rivers in the province so that they could immediately inform their constituents of possible floods that may occur.
He said the evacuation centers in the five towns of the province were also ready to help internally displaced persons once landslides and flash floods hit in their areas.