PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan -- Residents, fishermen, and tourists in Palawan were advised Sunday by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to stay clear of landslide-prone areas, not to sail to high seas, and not to swim in beaches as typhoon “Maria” moves closer to the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Jerry Alili, chief of the PDRRMO in the province, said residents near coastal areas that are susceptible to storm surges should be alert to evacuate immediately if they see the weather condition worsening in the next hours.
“Kung nakikita na nila na di na ligtas ang kondisyon sa kanila sa coastal areas, they should be prepared to evacuate immediately. ‘Yung mga mangingisda natin, iwasan muna maglayag, at iyong ating mga bisita naman, ‘wag muna mag-swimming sa mga beaches para ligtas sila (If they see that the condition is no longer safe for them in the coastal areas, they should be prepared to evacuate immediately. Our fishermen should avoid going out to distant sea areas, and our guests should avoid swimming in the beaches so they will be safe),” Alili told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in a phone call.
Alili said they have already opened all their operation centers in the province since last week, particularly in southern Palawan.
However, they will be on full monitoring on Monday, including in the northern areas of the province, since “Maria” is expected to enter PAR on that day if it does not change its speed and course of direction.
“Our operation centers have pre-positioned relief goods, rescue vehicles, and food items to take care of the needs of those who might evacuate,” he said.
He added that all municipal DRRMOs have also been alerted to keep a close watch on Maria’s possible effects.
At the local PAGASA office, weatherman Sonny Pajarilla also echoed Alili’s call on Friday for fishermen not to go out to the high seas due to heavy rains brought by Maria, if it enters the PAR.
“Hindi naman magla-landfall dito sa atin kasi tandaan natin na pag-July walang bagyo na magla-landfall sa Palawan. Ang meron mga November up to January, but of course, Maria will enhance iyong habagat o southwest monsoon. Ang mga mangingisda natin, wag muna magpalaot dahil syempre magiging mahangin din (It will not make a landfall here because no typhoon makes landfalls in July. Landfalls usually occur from November up to January, but of course, Maria will enhance the southwest monsoon. Our fishermen should avoid catching fish in distant sea areas since there will be strong winds),” he said.
Pajarilla added that Palawan has not been placed under any storm signal as Maria is still outside the PAR.
He said typhoon Maria, with local name “Gardo,” was last spotted 1,875 kilometers east of Central Luzon with maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of 225 kph. (PNA)