MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has offered his condolences to the families of flood victims, as Severe Tropical Storm Paeng brought heavy rains and drenched some parts of the country, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Our prayers go to the lives lost in the Aklan, Capiz, and BARMM flash floods, and to those who continue to be gravely affected by this calamity,” Marcos said in a Twitter post late Friday night.

About 72 people died in the aftermath of Paeng, which prompted floods and landslides in the southern part of the country, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV said in a radio interview on Saturday morning.

At least 31 were reported injured and 14 missing.

Marcos asked the public to stay safe and vigilant, as Paeng is expected to bring heavy rains in parts of Luzon and the Visayas on Sunday.

“All those in the affected areas are advised to take precautions, particularly those who plan to travel this long weekend,” he said.

Gov't preparedness

Marcos assured that all concerned agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the Philippine Coast Guard PCG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) are on alert.

“The AFP, BFP, PCG, PNP, and MMDA are on standby for rescue operations, DSWD has pre-positioned food and non-food items to high-risk areas, and OCD has deployed its assets for transportation and clearing operations,” he said.

In a Facebook post on Saturday morning, the President said the government would be distributing financial assistance, prepositioned family food packs, and non-food items to more than 15,000 affected families in the Bicol region and other typhoon-hit areas in the Visayas and Mindanao.

"Mula kahapon, patuloy ang aksyon ng iba’t-ibang ahensya para siguruhing naipaparating ang tulong sa ating mga kababayang sinasalanta ngayon ng Bagyong Paeng (Since yesterday, different government agencies continue to work to ensure the immediate distribution of assistance to our fellow countrymen affected by Paeng)," he said.

Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer in charge of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), noted that the DSWD, local government units (LGUs), and other partners have provided about PHP4.1 million in assistance to typhoon victims.

"On the instruction of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., the DSWD said Saturday that the government has available overall relief resources of PHP1.5 billion with PHP445.2 million standby funds and quick response fund (QRF). The agency also has more than PHP1 billion worth of stockpiles ready to be distributed," Garafil said.

Citing a DSWD report, Garafil said 97,206 families have been affected by the storm in multiple regions, with 12,304 families sheltering in evacuation centers.

She added that according to initial reports, there were 54 destroyed houses and 54 damaged in the aftermath of the typhoon.

Call for vigilance

Garafil said Marcos has been in "constant communication" with various government agencies to ensure that there is sufficient resource augmentation to support LGUs in all affected areas.

"The President has instructed national government agencies to assist the BARMM in its relief and rescue operations on the recent flooding in Maguindanao," she said. "The President wants to assure them of the full support of the government. Everyone is advised to stay alert and take all precautionary measures to stay safe."

In a separate Twitter post on Friday night, the OPS said the government is ready to provide immediate assistance to the typhoon victims.

The OPS also advised the public to monitor weather updates and advisories, and follow tropical disturbance preparedness tips.

Paeng track

Moving west-northwestward at 30 kph, Paeng packs maximum sustained winds of 95 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 160 kph, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 8 a.m. weather bulletin.

PAGASA said heavy to intense with at times torrential rains may prevail over Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Marinduque, Romblon, Mindoro provinces, and the northern portion of Palawan including Calamian and Cuyo Islands, until Saturday evening.

Mainland Cagayan Valley, the Cordillera region, Western Visayas, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan, Bataan, and the Camarines provinces may experience moderate to heavy with at times intense rains.

Light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be felt in the Ilocos region and the rest of the Visayas, Central Luzon, and Bicol.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 3 has been raised over Camarines Norte, the western portion of Camarines Sur (Del Gallego, Ragay, Lupi, Sipocot, Cabusao, Pasacao, Libmanan, Pamplona), Marinduque, Quezon including Pollilo Islands, Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Metro Manila, and Rizal.

TWCS No. 2 has been hoisted over Catanduanes, Albay, the western portion of Sorsogon (Pilar, Castilla, and Donsol), the western portion of Masbate (Aroroy, Baleno, and Mandaon) including Burias Island, the southern portion of Aurora (San Luis, Baler, Dingalan, and Maria Aurora), Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, the rest of Camarines Sur, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, and Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Islands.

TWCS No. 1 has been raised over Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Kalinga, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, La Union, the rest of Aurora, the rest of Sorsogon, the rest of Masbate including Ticao Island, and the northern portion of Palawan (El Nido, Taytay, Dumaran, Araceli, Roxas, and San Vicente) including Calamian and Cuyo Islands.

Northern Samar, Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Cebu including Bantayan and Camotes Islands, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Guimaras, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo have also been placed under TWCS No. 1.

Paeng is forecast to track westward in the short term before moving west-northwestward across Luzon on Sunday.

On the PAGASA's forecast track, the center of Paeng will pass close or make landfall in the vicinity of Marinduque on Saturday morning before traversing the Calabarzon-Metro Manila-Bataan Peninsula area for the remainder of the day through early Sunday morning.

However, a southward shift in the forecast track of Paeng is possible in the succeeding bulletins, PAGASA said.

“Frictional effects associated with interaction with the Luzon landmass may result in weakening into a tropical storm within 24 hours, possibly earlier. However, Paeng may re-intensify into a severe tropical storm once it reaches the West Philippine Sea,” the weather bureau said. (PNA)