CLASSES SUSPENDED. Motorists are shown along a street in Cebu amid rain showers brought by a low pressure area and shear line. On Thursday (Jan. 12, 2023), about 40 localities in the province suspended classes due to continuous rains amid the ongoing preparations of the Cebu City government for the Sinulog 2023. (PNA photo by John Rey Saavedra)

CEBU CITY – About 40 localities in Cebu province suspended classes on Thursday as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) based in Mactan Island reported the low-pressure area (LPA) and shear line continue to trigger rain showers in the area.

The Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said the municipalities and component cities that declared the suspension of classes included the cities of Carcar, Danao, and Talisay, and the highly urbanized cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

The northern island towns of Bantayan, Santa Fe, and Madridejos also canceled classes. Of the four towns of the Camotes group of islands in the eastern seaboard, only the towns of Pilar and Tudela suspended the classes.

In Cebu City, Mayor Michael Rama on Thursday reminded school administrators of the executive order (EO) he signed on Aug. 19, 2022 that empowers school principals and officials in colleges and universities to determine by themselves if there is a need to suspend classes.

“Mas nahibalo man sila sa sitwasyon (They know better about the situation),” he said.

In line with the EO, he said parents should address their queries about the suspension of classes to the school administration.

Ana Frances Dumdum, PAGASA weather specialist based in Mactan Island, said an LPA was spotted 380 kilometers east of Surigao City.

Although there is a slim chance that the LPA may develop into a tropical cyclone or typhoon within 24 hours, it has triggered intermittent rain showers in the Visayas and Mindanao areas.

“Ang or panagsugat sa bugnaw nga hangin sa amihan ug init nga hangin sa LPA nakaapekto ug maoy nagdala og ulan dire sa dapit (The shear line caused by the convergence of cold winds from the north and warm winds caused by the LPA has affected and brought rains in the area),” Dumdum said.

She said the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, Southern Leyte, and Biliran Island have been placed under “red rainfall warning” citing that continuous rainfall may cause major flooding and landslides in prone areas.

The agency, she said, has also issued a gale warning covering the eastern coast of the Visayas due to moderately strong winds from northeast to the northwest which may cause rain and big waves as it advised smaller vessel operators from going out to the sea.

Meanwhile, Rama said the city government of Cebu has prepared contingency measures in case the bad weather will prevail, delaying preparations for the new venue of the Sinulog 2023 at the South Road Properties (SRP).

“Until it’s over, it’s not over… Let’s do our job, hard work, and hope for the best and expect the worst. We have the A, B. C, and D and let God take care of the rest,” Rama said as he led officials in assessing the situation at the SRP.

He said in a separate radio interview that the city is considering Plan B which is to hold the Sinulog at the Cebu Coliseum, Plan C which is to have it at the Cebu City Sports Center, and Plan D which is forego with the grand parade due to bad weather.

Several officials, including Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and former Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros, have called on Rama and current SFI executives to reconsider the decision to hold the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday (Jan. 15) at the new venue, saying that bad weather has affected the preparation. (PNA)