TACLOBAN CITY – Several local government units in Eastern Visayas have suspended work and classes on Monday as Tropical Depression Agaton dumped heavy rains in the region.
Since Sunday, local authorities have been issuing executive orders as many areas continue to experience heavy rains.
Among the local governments that suspended work and classes are Tacloban City, Tabango, Barugo, Palo, Carigara, Kananga, Tanauan, Tolosa, Sta. Fe, Palompon, Pastrana, Burauen, Baybay City, Bato, Tunga, and Ormoc City in Leyte.
Similar directives were issued in Maasin City, Libagon, Hinundayan, Padre Burgos, Bontoc, Liloan in Southern Leyte; Taft, Balangiga, Guiuan, Giporlos, Balangkayan, Lawaan, Llorente, Borongan City, Salcedo, and Sulat in Eastern Samar; Basey, Motiong, Daram, Catbalogan City in Samar; Naval, Caibiran, Culaba, Kawayan, and Almeria in Biliran.
Exempted from the work suspension are those involved in the maintenance of peace and order, disaster risk management, health and sanitation, and traffic management.
"This a great and proactive move by our local officials to ensure the safety of workers and students," said Office of Civil Defense Eastern Visayas regional director Lord Byron Torrecarion in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Local governments have decided to suspend work and classes after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 1 in all of the region’s six provinces.
On Sunday, signal no. 2 was hoisted in some areas in Eastern Samar, Leyte and Samar provinces.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), meanwhile, said five national roads in Eastern Visayas have been closed to all types of vehicles due to flooding, landslides, fallen trees and debris, and damaged bridge.
Based on the 6 a.m. report posted on Facebook, the Bureau of Maintenance said the following are not passable: Arteche-Jipapad-Las Navas-Rawis Road in Barangay Bigo, Arteche, Eastern Samar and Sto. Rosario-Villaba Road in Barangay Hibulangan, Villaba, Leyte due to flooding; Tacloban Baybay South Road in Barangay Cuatro de Agosto, Mahaplag, Leyte due to landslide; Daang Maharlika, Sogod-Libagon Section in Southern Leyte due to possible occurrence of landslide or soil erosion; and Abuyog-Silago Road in Barangay Imelda, Silago, Southern Leyte due to landslides.
Nine national roads also have limited access in the Calabarzon, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Soccsksargen regions.
These are Marikina-Infanta Road, in Quezon which is only one lane passable due to slope collapse, and San Francisco-San Ricardo Section in Barangay Manglit, Pintuyan, Southern Leyte, one lane passable due to a minor landslide with fallen trees.
Five other road sections in Eastern Visayas are passable only to heavy vehicles due to flooding, namely Mainit-San Miguel-Santol Road in Barangay Santol, San Miguel, Leyte due to flooding; Tigbao-Pulak-Sta. Fe Road in Barangay San Isidro, Sta. Fe, Leyte; Calubian-San Isidro-Tabango-Villaba-Palompon Road in Leyte; Tacloban Baybay South Road in Barangay Gaas, Baybay City, Leyte; Ormoc-Baybay-Southern Leyte Boundary Road in Barangay Hipusngo, VSU Market, and Barangay Punta, in Baybay City and Talisay, Hilongos, Leyte.
In Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen, the following roads are only one-lane passable: Kapalong-Talaingod- Valencia Road in Lumbayao, Valencia City and Salug Bridge in Barangay San Jose, San Fernando, Bukidnon due to scouring of abutment; and Awang-Upi-Lebak-Kalamansig-Palimbang-Sarangani Road in Barangay Bolebak, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat.
DPWH Quick Response Teams have been deployed to monitor and clear affected road sections once weather and road conditions permit.
Since Saturday, the DPWH has activated Disaster Risk Reduction and Management teams of select regional and district engineering offices composed of 7,067 manpower and 921 equipment.
As of 8 a.m. on Monday, the center of Tropical Depression Agaton was spotted over the coastal waters of Tanauan, Leyte.
It has maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometer per hour near the center and a gustiness of up to 75 kilometers per hour. It is moving slowly north northwestward.
In the past three days, the weather bureau has been issuing an advisory that heavy rains brought by “Agaton” may trigger flooding in major river systems in the Eastern Visayas region. (With a report from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)