MANILA – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Operations Center has been on "red alert" since Friday night as Tropical Storm Karding is expected to affect large parts of the country this weekend.
The NDRRMC also activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) management team on Saturday.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), meanwhile, sent out advisories to affected local governments for preemptive evacuations of communities in high-risk areas.
Quick Response Funds worth PHP517.03 million are on standby at the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Also prepositioned are 542,950 family food packs worth PHP323.84 million and another PHP674.39 million worth of other food items.
As of the 11 a.m. weather bulletin, Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 2 is up over the southeastern portion of Isabela (Dinapigue); northern portion of Aurora (Dinalungan, Casiguran, Dilasag); and Polillo Islands.
Heavy to intense with at times torrential rains are forecast over the southern portion of Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, La Union, Pangasinan, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and the northern portion of Zambales.
The center of “Karding” was estimated based on all available data at 660 kilometers east southeast of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Kennon Road closed
In Benguet province, Kennon Road was indefinitely closed on Saturday, the Department of Public Works and Highways said.
The national road will not be passable, except for residents, to ensure safety from the threats or risks associated with the tropical storm.
The 33.7-kilometer mountain road is one of the fastest routes to Baguio City.
Non-residents may take the following alternate routes: Marcos Highway, Baguio-Bauang Road (Naguilian Road), and Asin-Nangalisan-San Pascual Road.
Bicol blue alert
In Bicol, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) placed the region on "blue alert" starting Saturday.
Memorandum No. 64 signed by Claudio Yucot, OCD-Bicol chief, said the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) is focused on the possible effects of the southwest monsoon that is enhanced by “Karding”.
The council heads must be ready with their contingency plans, implement preparedness measures, put up operation centers, and deploy response teams throughout the region.
"RDRRMC response agencies shall place their respective EOCs in 24/7 status for the possible effects and provide with an official list of available assets for deployment and indicate its capabilities," the order read.
The weather bureau has raised Signal No. 1 over Camarines Norte; northern and eastern portions of Camarines Sur (Del Gallego, Ragay, Lupi, Sipocot, Siruma, Tinambac, Goa, Lagonoy, Garchitorena, Caramoan, Presentacion, San Jose); and the northern portion of Catanduanes (Pandan, Caramoran, Bagamanoc, Panganiban, Viga, Gigmoto) as of 11 a.m.
From Saturday night through early Sunday morning, light to moderate with at times heavy rains are possible over Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur. (With reports from Ferdinand Patinio, Connie Calipay/PNA)