Bulacan ready for Typhoon “Ompong”; classes suspended

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has convened the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as the province braces for the expected onslaught of Typhoon “Ompong” that might hit Bulacan province either Thursday night or Saturday midnight.

Eight municipalities including two cities have declared as early of Wednesday night and Thursday morning the suspension of classes in all levels in private and public schools. Among them were the cities of Malolos and Meycauayan, municipalities of Marilao, Calumpit, Norzagaray, Obando, Baliuag and Hagonoy.

Sitting as chairman of the PDRRMC, Alvarado instructed PDRRM Executive Officer Liz Mungcal to alert all municipal and city mayors in Bulacan to be ready and be constantly in touch with the command post of the PDRRM Office at the Capitol compound.
‘Ompong’ which entered Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday, is threatening to bring heavy rains and may intensify into a super typhoon as stated earlier by the state weather bureau PAGASA which will also expected to bring floods in many towns in Bulacan.

“We are praying that the typhoon will slow down and spare our province but nevertheless we must always be ready when it comes.,” Alvarado said.

Despite of the ongoing month-long celebration of Bulacan’s mother of all feast, the “Singkaban Festival”, the governor always visiting the action center command post of the PDRRMO to monitor time to time the weather situation since Monday and he assured that beginning on Friday he will stay at the command post 24-7 to personally command and supervise every actions.

Alvarado also instructed Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office head Rowena Tiongson to prepare relief goods and other basic items like blankets, bottled water and mats that should be ready for distribution.

He also alerted the different municipal and city disaster risk reduction and management units to prepare the different evacuation centers for possible rescue operations for people living along riverbanks.

Gov. Alvarado at the PDRRMO command post action center monitoring the water level of three dams in the province

The governor also instructed Mungcal to coordinate with officials of the three major dams in Bulacan—Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams—and request them to do preemptive release before the storm hit the province.

Regardless with the suspension of classes, Alvarado expressed his dismay over the too early declaration of class suspension by local chief executives in the said places in spite of good weather experienced on Thursday as the forecast says that the typhoon will land by evening of said day.

“These children should be in school, its very early to suspend the classes because the typhoon will hit the country in the evening of Thursday,” Alvarado stressed.

Alvarado added that the city and local government must have proper coordination with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Barangays and school principals and asses the situation well before deciding if will suspend or not.

During the pre-disaster risk assessment meeting, Alvarado also brought out the establishment of an Incident Command Post and deployment of incident command teams that will oversee rescue and evacuation of affected people through the activation of PDRRMC’s “Oplan Listo”.

He said that all hospitals run by the provincial government should be ready with adequate supply of medicines and vaccines.

Mungcal have also briefed officials of concerned agencies like the Bulacan police, headed by police director Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, the Philippine Army and different emergency rescue units and volunteers where flood prone areas were also identified and rescue teams have already deployed.

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