MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III on Friday advised the people not to panic but do the necessary preparation as the Philippines braces for typhoon ‘Lando’ that is forecast to bring heavy rains.
”I call on all Filipinos to avoid panicking. Let us prepare as we should monitor the news, and understand the warnings issued by national and local governments, from storm signals, rainfall warnings, storm surge advisories, and advisories regarding the necessary evacuations if needed,” the President said in his address to the nation delivered at the Malacanang Palace.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), typhoon Lando (international name “Koppu”) is forecast to make landfall late Saturday to early Sunday over the areas of Isabela and Aurora.
”At this point, the eye of the storm has been observed 510 kilometers east of Baler, Aurora. According to PAGASA’s data, the storm carries winds of up to 130 kph with gusts of 160 kph,” the President said in his speech.
”Lando’s movement is restricted by Typhoon Champi behind it. There are also high pressure areas above Lando. Because of this, Lando will be making its way through our country at a slower pace,” the President added.
President Aquino also said: “PAGASA estimates that the heavy rainfall will last for 6 to 12 hours. Furthermore, due to the accelerated evaporation caused by El Niño, there will be an increased intake of moisture, which will consequently increase the rainfall volume. Moreover, according to PAGASA, Lando’s winds may reach up to 185 kph, which means that we may raise Storm Signal Number 4 in affected areas.”
The PAGASA’s forecasts show that Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, and CAR will feel the effects of Lando.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) data estimates that 1.5 million families in these regions will be needing assistance.
”The DSWD has prepositioned food packs to more quickly bring relief to affected communities and evacuation centers,” the President said.
He said other concerned government agencies such as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Energy and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have also been alerted due to Lando.
”You can rest assured that, through the leadership of the NDRRMC and its Executive Director, Usec. Alex Pama, coordination continues among different government agencies, along with those from the private sector such as telecommunications and oil companies. The World Food Program and other organizations also stand as partners in our efforts,” President Aquino said.
President Aquino said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are also actively implementing Oplan Listo (Operation Alert).
”Sec. Mel Sarmiento is personally coordinating with our provincial heads and our LGUs to remind them of what needs to be done at this time. The airplanes, boats, and other assets of our Armed Forces and Coast Guard are also on standby. Should you happen to see an increased presence of policemen and soldiers in your communities, please do not worry; I assure you that they are there to help our first responders,” the President said.
”It is clear: Your government is here, in order to ensure that we will meet our goal of zero casualties. But I must emphasize: each local government unit, community, and Filipino that will be affected has the duty to cooperate in the collective action we are taking to overcome the challenges ahead. Let me also remind you that when this typhoon passes, it will bring, or it may bring much-needed relief. Because of the rainfall, the water levels in our dams will rise, thus helping to alleviate the effects of the El Niño,” he added.
During the question and answer portion, the President said the government has not stopped in improving the country’s preparation for any natural calamities and disasters.
”We have to improve more our preparation. When the ‘mother nature’ strikes, the people have limitation on what they can do. But we’re doing our best with the participation of all concerned agencies to help our people,” the President said. (By Jelly F. Musico/PNA)