BICOL BRACES FOR TYPHOON ‘NONA’

LEGAZPI CITY — Disaster councils across the Bicol Region were on standby alert on Saturday after Tropical Storm “Nona” (International name: Melor) entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) and, according to the local weather bureau, would bring moderate-to-heavy rains over the Bicol peninsula on Sunday, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) said.

The RDRRMC on Friday reactivated the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Operation Center (OpCen) and placed its personnel on 24/7 duty to monitor and advise local disaster councils in the six provinces and disaster agencies on weather updates and disaster preparation scenarios, Bernardo Alejandro, RDRRMC chairperson and OCD regional director, said.

The local weather bureau on Saturday was considering placing the entire Bicol Region and Samar provinces under public storm signal 1 alert status on Sunday after TS Nona slowed down as of 11 a.m. Saturday while maintaining its strength and direction.

Alejandro said that while Nona slowed down, it would bring moderate-to-heavy rains that might trigger floods, landslides in low-lying and mountain’s slope areas in some parts of the region.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a severe weather bulletin indicating that Nona would bring moderate-to-heavy rainfall within its 100-km diameter.

Alejandro said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Bicol has operationalized the “Listo Protocol”, a measure that ensures the presence of governors, city and town mayors in manning their respective disaster councils.

The Listo Protocol is a measure that would also activate Disaster Risk Reduction Measures operation centers, prepositions goods and necessary services to ensure a zero- casualty goal.

The Philippine Coast Guard will implement the no-sailing policy once Signal 1 is raised by the PAGASA, while 37 aluminum boats, 3 rubber boats, a fiber boat, trucks and a pathfinder are on standby in various PCG units across the region.

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) units in Bicol have been in full red alert status since Friday.

The PAGASA said that as of 11 a.m. Saturday, Nona was at 1,025 km east of Maasin City in Southern Leyte with maximum sustained winds of 65kph and gustiness of up to 80kph, moving west-northwest at a speed of 17kph. PNA