By: Glazyl Y. Masculino and Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Classes in all levels in 16 areas in Negros Occidental were suspended Tuesday, July 16, following heavy rains brought by tropical depression “Falcon.”
These were the towns of Valladolid, Pontevedra, E.B. Magalona, Cauayan, Candoni, Hinigaran, Isabela, San Enrique, Binalbagan, Murcia, Moises Padilla, Hinoba-an, Ilog, and La Castellana, and cities of Himamaylan, and Kabankalan.
The local disaster risk reduction and management office in San Enrique reported flooding at Barangays Batuan, Tabao Rizal, Guintorilan, Sibucai, Baliwagan, Bagonawa, Tabao Baybay, and Poblacion yesterday.
As of press time, nine families were evacuated in Pontevedra town.
The province experienced light to moderate with occasional heavy monsoon rains yesterday.
The tropical depression is expected to make landfall over Cagayan province on Wednesday, which will affect the Luzon area and some parts of Visayas.
Meanwhile, Governor Eugenio Lacson ordered all LDRRMOs in cities and municipalities last Monday to heighten their preparedness for response measures and to take appropriate precautionary actions for moderate to heavy rains that may bring flooding, flash floods, or landslides.
Lacson advised them to activate their respective operation centers to monitor closely their area of responsibility.
“Place your respective emergency response units on standby and review your contingency plan for flood and make preemptive evacuation, if necessary,” he added.
Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), directed all police chiefs and members of Provincial Mobile Force Company to inspect flood prone and coastal areas in their respective areas.
He advised them to coordinate with the LDRRMO to utilize resources if there is a need for possible evacuation.
Meanwhile, Philippine Coast Guard-Negros Occidental commander, Lieutenant Senior Grade Rockcliff Buling, said sea trips in the province remain normal throughout the day, although he noted that they will immediately suspend trips if the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) issues a Gale Warning on the seaboards of the province.
As of 11:00 a.m. of July 16, Falcon was last spotted 510 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
The storm is currently moving west at 30 kilometers per hour (kph) with maximum sustained winds at 55 kph and gusts at 70 kph.
Although the storm is located north of Luzon, a general flood advisory has been issued in Western Visayas as the storm is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon or habagat.