By Alexandria Dennise San Juan
The Department of Interior and Local Government has ordered mayors to stand guard in their respective local government units (LGUs) and aim for zero casualty as Typhoon Ompong looms.
DILG Officer-In-Charge Secretary Eduardo Año said that local chief executives must be present in their respective territories as chairpersons of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to ensure immediate government response once the typhoon strikes.
“Those who fail to show up and remain absent when Ompong rakes through the country will be sanctioned by the Department,” he warned.
According to the DILG chief, the Department is also aiming for zero casualty with the entrance of Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) on Wednesday.
“We have been forewarned as early as last week that ‘Ompong’ is no ordinary typhoon and is similar to ‘Yolanda’. Let us brace our communities and urge our people to also make the necessary preparations for their families. Being a resilient people, let’s aim for zero casualty,” Año added.
In the latest weather forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the typhoon is threatening Northern Luzon.
PAGASA added that Ompong may reach its peak intensity of around 220 kilometers per hour of maximum sustained winds and gustiness of up to 270 kilometers per hour.
Meanwhile, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that local government units (LGUs) must now have already made preparations recommended in the Department’s OPLAN Listo.
“Execution of tasks must be made in haste and efficiency to minimize damages and casualties,” Malaya said.
DILG’s OPLAN Listo recommends three critical preparedness actions that LGUs must follow, namely, Alpha for low risk areas, Bravo for medium-risk areas, and Charlie for high-risk areas.
Upon receiving alert of the storm, LGUs must prepare the resources, supplies, equipment and relief goods needed around 48 hours prior to landfall, Malaya explained.
LGUs must also have equipment on standby, and should be ready to deploy teams for security, medical, clearing, evacuation, relief distribution, and communication needs.
According to Malaya, LGUs must send rescue and medical teams to highly vulnerable areas during and after the disaster.
They must also secure power, water supply and communications, patrol areas and standby for clearing operations.
“We must already be ‘listo’ (alert) at this time. We must gear up and prepare for the worst as Typhoon Ompong continues to rake through the country,” he concluded.