PRRD to lead command conference for ‘Ompong’

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte will hold a command conference to make sure that the government’s readiness for the forthcoming Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut) is at the highest level.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the command conference will be held at the headquarters of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) operations center at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City at 4 p.m. Thursday.

“This afternoon, the president will hold a command conference in the NDRRMC to make sure that our state of readiness for ‘Ompong’ will be at its highest level,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing on Thursday.

He said the NDRMMC is already on red alert and has reactivated its response clusters, particularly in the areas to be hit by “Ompong”.

Roque said the reporting system of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has also been activated, including its preemptive evacuation.

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has prepared PHP1.7-billion worth of food packs and other relief assistance while the Department of Health (DOH) has readied medical teams, medicines and other medical supplies.

He said the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has also made sure that all air and land assets are ready to respond to any eventuality.Roque said all the quick response teams of the various government agencies have already been deployed to areas to be hit by the typhoon.

“Again, we advised the public to be alert and safe. We are prepared and to make sure that we are 100 percent, the President has decided to have a command conference in the NDRMMC,” he said.

Duterte was originally set to attend the test firing of the Spike Extended Range missiles from the Philippine Navy’s BRP Davao del Sur in Bataan but it was cancelled due to the typhoon.

As of 10 a.m. “Ompong” was spotted at 725 km. east of Virac, Catanduanes.

The typhoon, which may develop into a super typhoon, is packing maximum sustained winds of up to 205 km. per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 255 kph, and is moving west at 20 kph.

The typhoon is expected to bring heavy to intense rains, strong winds, rough seas and storm surges in coastal areas in Northern Luzon beginning Friday.

“Ompong” is forecast to make landfall in northern Cagayan on Saturday morning and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Monday.