February 14, 2018
ILOILO City – Tropical storm “Basyang” (international name: Sanba) forced several local government units in Western Visayas to suspended classes yesterday.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Iloilo, on the other hand, cancelled the trips of seagoing vessels.
In this city, public and private schools did not hold classes in preschool and elementary levels upon the order of the city government.
“Iloilo City has been placed under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1,” explained City Administrator Hernando Galvez.
Scattered to widespread moderate to heavy rains would prevail in the next 24 hours over Palawan and Visayas, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Administrative Services Administration (Pagasa) said in its 2 p.m. weather bulletin yesterday.
In Iloilo province, the following local governments took cues from Iloilo City and issued similar orders: Alimodian, Anilao, Banate, Barotac Viejo, Cabatuan, Calinog, Concepcion, Dumangas, Dingle, Janiuay, Leganes, Miag-ao, Mina, New Lucena, Passi City, Pavia, Pototan, San Enrique, San Miguel, San Dionisio, Tigbauan, and Zarraga.
In Capiz, Mayor Alan Celino of Roxas City suspended classes in all levels in both public and private schools.
Anticipating possible flooding, the town of Dumalag, Capiz cancelled classes, too.
Capiz disaster risk reduction officer Esperidion Pelaez said all low-lying areas were alerted.
At 4 p.m. yesterday, Pagasa said “Basyang” was estimated at 25 km southeast of Tagbilaran City, Bohol packing maximum sustained winds of 45 km per hour. It was forecast to make landfall over Palawan today.
In an updated weather bulletin an hour after, Pagasa said “Basyang” would continue dumping moderate to heavy rains over Palawan and the Visayas.
In Negros Occidental, the suspension of classes in Bacolod City, Escalante City, Sagay City, Talisay City, Bago City, and Cadiz City invariably covered preschool, elementary, high school, and college levels.
“We are in constant coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Engineer’s Office, Bacolod City Police Office, Bacolod City Traffic Authority Office, and other concerned agencies to seek more effective solutions to flooding,” said Mayor Evelio Leonardia of Bacolod City.
Signal No. 1 was raised over the following areas:
* Palawan, including the Calamian and Cuyo groups of islands
* Negros Occidental
* Negros Oriental
* Southern Leyte
* Misamis Oriental
* Misamis Occidental
* Northern section of Zamboanga del Norte
As of 11 a.m. yesterday, Signal No. 1 was still raised in Negros Occidental although “Basyang” had already been downgraded from tropical storm to tropical depression, based on Severe Weather Bulletin No. 13 of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).
In Antique, classes were suspended, too, in some towns such as Sebaste, Culasi and Hamtic.
Being closely monitored were mountainous parts prone to landslides, said Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Broderick Train.
The Philippine Coast Guard – Iloilo station grounded seagoing vessels bound for Palawan, Manila, Cebu, and Bacolod City.
Lieutenant Rodolfo Dela Peña, station commander, said motorboats plying the Iloilo-Guimaras route and vice versa were allowed to operate but their passenger volume was slashed to 75 percent of their usual capacity.
Operators of these motorboats were also reminded to make available to their passengers serviceable lifejackets.
“Pagasa placed Iloilo under Signal No. 1 so there should be cancellation of trips for the safety and security of boat passengers,” said Dela Peña.
But coastguard allowed motorboat trips from Iloilo City to Guimaras and vice versa, he said, “because it’s only a short travel.”
“We are observing the weather and waiting for updates from Pagasa. If the weather condition improves or if the storm signal is lifted, boat trips will automatically resume,” said Dela Peña.
“Basyang” is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility tomorrow afternoon, said Pagasa./PN