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Palace Suspends Classes In NCR, Gov’t Work Today

Palace Suspends Classes In NCR, Gov’t Work Today
Cars are submerged in floodwaters as the Marikina River’s water level reached 15.7 meters amid heavy downpour caused by the southwest monsoon enhanced by Typhoons Goring and Hanna on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. Photo by Walter Bollozos, The Philippine STAR

Malacañang suspended classes and government work in Metro Manila today, Sept. 1, because of the bad weather caused by the southwest monsoon, Super Typhoon Goring and Severe Tropical Storm Hanna.

Memorandum Circular No. 30 was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin by authority of President Marcos.

Agencies whose functions involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness or response to disasters and calamities, and other vital services shall continue with their operations.

The memorandum gave the heads of private companies and offices the leeway to decide whether to suspend work.

Hanna, which is forecast to strengthen into typhoon category within 12 hours, will continue to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over parts of the country.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said that Hanna (international name Haikui) was monitored 1,035 kilometers east of extreme northern Luzon carrying maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 135 km/h.

Hanna was moving westward at 15km/h remaining far from Philippine landmass and could exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Saturday, Sept. 2.

Gusty conditions due to the monsoon are forecast over Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Zambales, Bataan, Aurora, Bulacan, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol region, Western Visayas and northern portion of Eastern Visayas today.

The southwest monsoon is already bringing monsoon rains over Metro Manila, Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Occidental Mindoro.

Occasional rains are forecast over Ilocos, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Tarlac, Pampanga and Quezon due to the monsoon.

The weather system will also bring scattered rain showers over Antique, Cagayan Valley, the rest of CAR, rest of Central Luzon and rest of Mimaropa.

Isolated rain showers are expected over the rest of the country due to the monsoon and localized thunderstorms.

It will gradually strengthen until it reaches peak intensity by late Saturday, Sept. 2 or early Sunday, Sept. 3.

PAGASA warned of possible flooding or landslides due to heavy to intense rains.

State weather forecasters are also monitoring tropical storm Kirogi, which was monitored 3,140km east of southeastern Luzon carrying maximum sustained winds of 100km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 125km/h as it moves northward.

PAGASA issued an orange heavy rainfall warning on Thursday, Aug. 31, over Metro Manila, Bataan and parts of Zambales shortly before 6 a.m. on Aug. 31. It was later downgraded to yellow warning.

Under the existing policy of the Department of Education, in-person and online classes in public elementary and high schools are automatically suspended in areas under tropical cyclone wind signals, orange and red rainfall warning, and flood warning.

Mandaluyong suspended classes only up to senior high school, while Makati said classes will transition to blended learning modalities.

Other areas that suspended classes in all levels were the provinces of Pampanga, Abra, Rizal and Ilocos Norte, as well as in Bacolod and several municipalities in Cagayan, Bataan, Ilocos Sur and Iloilo.

Meanwhile, suspended up to senior high school were classes in Benguet, including Baguio City, and in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Several areas, particularly in northern Luzon, were not able to open the school year due to heavy rainfall. The opening of classes was scheduled on Aug. 29.

Education officials said affected schools may shift to alternative delivery modes, including modular distance learning, until the conditions improve.

The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has assured customers of its readiness to immediately respond to power outages that may result from the southwest monsoon being experienced in parts of its franchise area.

Meralco has likewise requested billboard owners and operators to temporarily roll their billboards up to prevent these structures from being toppled by strong winds and has called on its customers to practice electrical safety measures which are very important especially when there is flooding.

Flight cancellations

AirAsia Philippines head of corporate communication and public affairs Steve Dailisan said that Typhoon Goring caused the cancellation of Manila-Hong Kong-Manila and Manila-Macao-Manila flights on today.

“In light of Typhoon Goring’s projected trajectory, we’ve taken the decision to cancel certain flights that may be disrupted by the anticipated extreme weather conditions in order to prioritize our passengers’ welfare. Rest assured, those affected have been duly informed via registered SMS and email. Furthermore, we continue to ensure compliance with the guidance and regulations provided by local government units and civil aviation authorities,” Dailisan added.

Agri, infra damage

The damage of Typhoon Goring and enhanced monsoon rains to the agriculture sector in four regions has ballooned to P375 million, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Based on the DA bulletin as of 1 p.m. on Thursday, at least 8483 farmers in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Western Visayas were affected by the super typhoon, raising the total loss of production to 15,856 metric tons covering 16,145 hectares of agricultural areas.

“Affected commodities include rice, corn, and high value crops,” the DA said.

Damage to palay plantations increased to P241.8 million covering 10,562 hectares while damage to corn totaled P132.4 million covering 5,580 hectares while at least P715,500 worth of high value crops were also destroyed covering at least three hectares of farmlands.

On the other hand, Goring has also destroyed at least P400 million in infrastructure projects in most parts of the Ilocos due to floods and heavy rain.

Marcel Tabije, head of Ilocos Norte Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said that 42 families and 136 individuals were evacuated during the height of Goring in Batac City and in the towns of Banna, Dingras, Bangui, Piddig, Bacarra and Paoay.

Dams water level increase

Records from the PDRRMO of Bulacan showed that there was a slight increase in the water elevation of three dams on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, the water elevations of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams were monitored at 198.18 meters, 100.97 meters and 17.36 meters compared to their previous-day levels of 198.13 meters, 99.91 meters and 17.32 meters respectively.

The spilling level of Bustos Dam is at 17 meters, Ipo Dam at 101 meters and the normal high water level of Angat Dam is at 212 meters.

Angat Dam’s current water level is 18.18 meters above its minimum operating level but still 13.82 meters below its normal high water level.

For Angat Dam to provide adequate water supply for Metro Manila residents for the summer months its water level should be at least 212 meter by year-end. – With Romina Cabrera, Janvic Mateo, Richmond Mercurio, Bella Cariaso, Ramon Lazaro, Jun Elias, Rudy Santos