LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 1 (Ilocos region) placed Pangasinan under “blue alert” status, while the Pangasinan provincial government declared a province-wide suspension of classes in all levels on Thursday due to the effect of Tropical Depression “Inday” on the southwest monsoon.
Avenix Arenas, spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in Pangasinan, in a radio interview on Thursday, said Inday enhanced the southwest monsoon, bringing heavy rains to the province.
Blue alert is raised when there is a tropical depression within the Philippine Area of Responsibility, the rainfall is between 15 to 30 millimeters in an hour and expected to continue in the next two hours, and if there is threatened flooding, according to the guidelines on alert status of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Arenas disclosed that 13 barangays in Bani town, three in Mangatarem, five in Alaminos City and two in Calasiao were already flooded as of 4 a.m. Thursday.
She added that 17 families in Alaminos City and 19 families in Bani town have left their homes due to flooding in their areas since Wednesday night.
“Two bridges in Alaminos City and Bani are not passable due to flooding,” Arenas said.
PDDRMO has dispatched a Water Search and Rescue team to assist the local government of Bani while augmentation forces from the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army have joined the provincial government in monitoring the situation in the province, she noted.
“Governor Amado Espino III mandated us to monitor and do our best to achieve zero-casualty,” Arenas said.
Espino issued a memorandum on Wednesday night, cancelling classes in all levels of public and private schools on July 19 “to ensure the safety of the populace of the province especially the school children and students.”
“According to Severe Weather Bulletin (SWB) #1 of PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), the southwest monsoon or habagat enhanced by Tropical Depression Inday will continuously bring intermittent moderate to occasional heavy monsoon rains over the Province of Pangasinan in the next few days. This weather system will endanger our communities from flooding, flash floods and landslides. Moreover, rivers, tributaries, and other water bodies also pose serious risks to the population,” the memorandum stated.
“Work in government offices (national and local) shall be left to the discretion of the local chief executives and agency heads,” it further said.
The PDRRMO urged the residents to be disciplined by following the instructions of authorities, especially when there is a need to evacuate and implement the “Bayanihan” spirit, Arenas said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Belen Fernandez of Dagupan City also suspended classes in all levels on Thursday. Dagupan, a chartered city, is not under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. Hilda Austria/PNA-northboundasia.com