Pangasinan readies for ‘Ompong’

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in Pangasinan has assured Pangasinenses it is prepared for the possible onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.

PDRRMO spokesperson Avenix Arenas, in an interview Wednesday, said the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) 1 (Ilocos) raised a “blue alert” status in the entire region on Tuesday. It is now on standby mode.

Arenas said PDRRMO chairman Governor Amado Espino III has met the staff twice since Monday to tackle preparations of the province for the severe weather disturbance.

She noted the province’s manpower and rescue equipment are on standby at the PDRRMO vicinity, while two teams composed of 14 to 16 personnel from the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPO) will be deployed to the Emergency Command Center of the PDRRMO on Thursday.

“But as per OCD, the alert status can be raised to ‘red’ if in case the weather disturbance hits us badly. In this case, the PPO, with other government agencies, like the Bureau of Fire Protection and Armed Forces of the Philippines, will provide its full force for rescue and other operations,” Arenas said.

The local government units (LGUs) are also tasked to hold pre-emptive evacuation, especially of those along the shorelines for possible storm surge and in landslide-prone areas in eastern and western Pangasinan, she said.

“The province has a total of 546 evacuation centers and the LGUs have prepared these evacuation centers and they have ensured that these are ideal for possible evacuees,” she added.

Arenas also encouraged Pangasinenses to stay calm yet alert, and prepare emergency go-bags containing important items such as flashlight, clothes, water, ready-to-eat food, and vital documents.

“We are doing the best we can to ensure the safety of our people in case the super typhoon affects our province, but we also ask for the cooperation of everybody,” she said.

Arenas also urged the public to refrain from sharing “fake news” that might cause panic.

“Aside from preparedness, the best weapon we have against calamity is prayer,” she noted. Hilda Austria/