CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Preparations of local government units (LGUs) in Central Luzon for the possible impacts of Tropical Storm Paeng have shifted into high gear to ensure the protection and safety of the residents.
Local officials in the region’s seven provinces -- Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga and Zambales -- activated on Friday their respective disaster risk reduction and management councils for the weather disturbance that is seen to threaten the region.
Although the effects of the tropical cyclone have yet to be felt in most parts of the region, members of the disaster councils have been ordered to prepare for any eventuality that Paeng might bring.
In Aurora, the level status of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations (PDRRMO) Center was raised from white to red alert to ensure continuous and prompt coordination with concerned agencies and to closely monitor the situation.
In the memorandum signed by Governor Christian Noveras on Friday, the no-sailing policy for fisherfolk and other boat owners was enforced effective immediately.
Likewise, Noveras said that preemptive evacuation based on mayors’ assessment and monitoring should be considered, especially for those families living in identified landslide and flood-prone and other high-risk areas.
In Nueva Ecija, Governor Aurelio Umali advised all local chief executives (LCEs) to immediately activate their local disaster risk reduction and management councils (LDRRMCs).
Nueva Ecija Provincial Agriculturist Bernardo Valdez advised farmers to harvest their crops early to avoid being damaged by Paeng.
So far, Valdez said there are some 21,166.3 hectares of palay in the province that are in the maturity stage.
In Bulacan, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headed by Governor Daniel Fernando is in close coordination with concerned government agencies to monitor the situation, particularly the water levels in the three dams -- Bustos, Ipo, and Angat.
In Pampanga, Governor Dennis Pineda advised the residents to take precautionary measures.
He asked the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (MDRRMOs) to monitor their barangays for the possible increase in water level in the Pampanga River and to take precautionary measures or preemptive evacuation.
In Bataan, Governor Jose Enrique Garcia said the provincial government’s emergency operations center is now prepared and ready.
Likewise, he said the various concerned agencies in the province are on full alert for an immediate evacuation.
The PDRRMO–Tarlac, on the other hand, is on alert status to closely monitor the situation.
In Zambales, the PDRRMO response agencies are on standby for possible activation of the operation centers.
The MDRRMOs are also advised to closely monitor landslide and flood-prone areas.
Meanwhile, the emergency teams from the district offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Region 3 (DPWH-3) are now in a position to respond to any emergencies that may be caused by Paeng.
DPWH Regional Director Roseller Tolentino said that all District Engineering Offices are instructed to immediately implement anti-disaster measures to reduce the risk of the hazards that the storm might cause.
Tolentino also said that quick response assets are now on standby for possible deployment on critical road sections.
As of 2 p.m., all provinces in Central Luzon are under Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1. (PNA)