Tag Archive: civil defense

Authorities on Saturday dived into the part of the sea off Claveria, Masbate, where the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel sank, as the number of persons left missing by the incident rose to seven.

Navy divers started plunging into the sea around 7 a.m. “to check if there are trapped passengers,” Ensign Ere Mon John Duruin, Naval Forces Southern Luzon assistant public affairs officer, said in a text message.

Duruin made the remark as the Office of Civil Defense-5 reported that seven persons on board the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are still missing.

The OCD-5 identified six of the seven as Abegail Barredo, 19; Noan Manocan, 25; Leticia Andaya, 78; Fe Rapsing, Jonas Comidor, and Arian Comidor.

The seventh was later identified as a certain Jocelyn Danao, Duruin said.

Three of the seven are listed on the ship’s manifest while the four others are “claimed” to be missing, the OCD-5 said in a report issued Saturday noon.

Speculation that some passengers remain trapped arose after it was discovered that some persons on the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel were not on the ship’s manifest.

On Friday, authorities reported that the ship’s manifest only lists 35 passengers, 22 crew members, two buses, and a six-wheeled cargo truck.

As of Saturday, a total of 61 persons comprised of 38 passengers and 23 crew members have been rescued, while the number of deaths remain at two, the OCD-5 said.

Three of the survivors, identified as Jewel Ballesteros, 5; Kyle Benguet, 7; and Gilbert Bungon, 25, are still being treated at the Masbate Provincial Hospital and Masbate MMG Hospital, according to the agency.

Meanwhile, the OCD-5 said members of the Coast Guard have been deployed from Aroroy to check if the M/V Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s sinking caused an oil spill. (John Roson)

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Five people, including four foreigners, were killed while at least seven were injured when Mayon Volcano in Albay spewed ash and rocks Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Rafaelito Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense-5 director, said four foreigners and a local tour guide died in the “phreatic explosion,” which occurred near the summit around 8 a.m.

The fatalities include tour guide Jerome Berin of Malilipot and three German nationals whose names have yet to be ascertained, Supt. Renato Bataller, Bicol regional police spokesman, said in a text message.

Injured are tour guide Keneth Gesalva and his Australian ward Straw Vega, as well as tour guide Jorge Cordovilla and his Thai wards Udome Kiat, Utan Ruchi, Boonchi, and Benjama, Bataller said.

Alejandro said two Air Force helicopters were sent to the volcano and were still conducting search and rescue operations as of Tuesday afternoon, to locate the hikers.

Alejandro said his office has yet to receive information if the explosion affected people living near the volcano, which is geographically shared by Legazpi City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao City, Tabaco City, Malilipot, and Santo Domingo.

“So far wala, ang report pa lang dito is ‘yung mga nag-tour doon, ‘yung umakyat,” Alejandro said.

Bataller said it is the first time since 1993 that Mayon Volcano acted up “without a warning.”

“Para itong ‘yung noong 1993 na nag-erupt nang walang kawarning-warning. Dati-rati kasi nagpaparamdam ito, may mga pagyanig kang mararamdaman. Noong 1993, bigla siyang nagbuga at mahigit 70 katao ang namatay,” he said. (John Roson)

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Just call it Sabah – DFA

Government agencies and the public should call Sabah by its own name alone, without annexing it to Malaysia, a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official reminded Monday.

Attorney Roy Ecraela, of the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary of Special and Ocean Concerns, made the reminder in a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) meeting chaired by Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin.

“All government agencies are directed to refer to Sabah as just Sabah, without referring to it as Sabah, Malaysia,” Ecraela said, citing Memorandum Circular No. 162 issued by Malacañang in 2008.

The memorandum is consistent with Republic Act 5446 or the Baselines Law and a Supreme Court ruling issued on July 16, 2011, Ecraela noted.

Member-agencies of the NDRRMC met Monday to discuss aid for Filipinos who left Sabah amid Malaysian troops’ operations against followers of the Sultanate of Sulu.

During the meeting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development made a presentation of the services it provided to people who left “Sabah, Malaysia.”

This prompted a Coast Guard official to ask if there were already changes to government policies in referring to the state, where the Philippines has an existing claim.

The claim stems from the Sultanate of Sulu’s historical ownership of North Borneo, which it received as payment from a sultan of Brunei and later leased to a British company.

Consistency pushed

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ecraela said the DFA also encourages the public, including the media, to be “consistent” with the government’s stand on Sabah.

He noted that some television reports referred to Sabah as if the Philippines already abandoned its claim.

“Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Tanggalin na ‘yung Malaysia,” Ecraela said, giving an example of how to name Sabah locations in news articles.

Asked if this meant that security forces should not say things such as “border patrols,” Ecraela said, ”Yung nakagawian natin, minsan iba rin talaga ‘yung reality.”

No evacuees, just ‘displaced persons’

During the meeting, the NDRRMC also agreed to call Filipinos who fled the fighting and military operations in Sabah as “displaced persons.”

Gazmin said NDRRMC member-agencies had been using different terms so he asked them how to differentiate one from the other or at least find a proper term.

Ecraela said Filipinos who left Sabah should not be called evacuees, refugees, or even returnees since they regard the state only as a neighboring province or town.

Fore people in southern provinces Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, and Basilan, there are “false borders or no borders at all,” he said.

“For centuries, people consider this movement as crossing from one town to another… Para lang silang mga taga-Pampanga na nagtatrabaho sa Manila,” Ecraela said.

Displaced folk nearing 4,000

Ramon Santos, director of the Office of Civil Defense in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said 3,693 Filipinos have arrived from Sabah as of March 23.

An additional 186 displaced persons arrived Monday afternoon, he said.

The OCD-ARMM is currently prepared to assist 100,000 displaced persons, Santos said. (John Roson)

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Some 7,914 people have been evacuated in different areas of Caraga due to floods caused by heavy rain from a low pressure area (LPA), a civil defense official said.

At least 6,854 people have been evacuated in Butuan City, 935 in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, and 125 in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, Office of Civil Defense-Caraga director Blanche Gobenciong said.

Floods caused by the LPA have already affected at least 2,427 families or 9,840 people in the region, she said.

Those affected are from Butuan City, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; San Luis, Agusan del Sur; Malimono, Surigao del Norte, and Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.

Butuan City is on “Alert Level 3” because waters of the Agusan River, whose basin includes the city, have risen to 2.78 meters above sea level.

In Lanuza, a landslide caused an estimated P1.5 million worth of damage when it wrecked the science laboratory of the Nurcia Integrated School, Gobenciong said. (John Roson)

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Authorities implemented “pre-emptive” evacuations and suspended classes in several areas of Caraga as heavy rains brought by a low-pressure area (LPA) caused floods and landslides, a civil defense official said.

Evacuations started around 6 a.m. Thursday, particularly in Brgys. Limon, Pigdaulan, Mahay, Banza, Golden Ribbon, and Obrero of Butuan City, Blanche Gobenciong, director of the Office of Civil Defense-Caraga, said.

Rains had been pouring “non-stop” from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday noon, causing the Agusan River to overflow at 2.5 meters above sea level and dump water at its basin in Butuan, Gobenciong said.

“Ang tinatawag na critical is from 2.6 to 2.7 meters. Beyond that, forced evacuation na ang gagawin,” Gobenciong noted.

Waters from the Agusan River also crept to Brgys. Doña Flavia, Doña Maxima, and Poblacion in San Luis, Agusan del Sur.

Floods were also monitored in Brgy. Poblacion of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, where the Tago River usually dumps excess water.

Parts of the National Highway and several barangay roads in those areas were already “impassable” to vehicles as of Thursday noon, Gobenciong said.

Heavy rains also caused a landslide along the National Highway in Brgy. Nurcia, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, but no one was reported injured, she said.

Classes in different levels have already been suspended in Butuan City, Surigao City, the whole province ng Dinagat Islands, Las Nieves and Magallanes of Agusan del Norte, and Tandag City of Surigao del Sur, Gobenciong said. (John Roson)

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At least 90 families evacuated their homes as rains spawned by tropical depression “Auring” caused floods in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, authorities said.

The families were evacuated to higher grounds after the Lubungan River in Brgy. San Jose overflowed, Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said.

Other affected areas in Zamboanga del Norte include the municipalities of Katipunan and President Manuel A. Roxas.

In Katipunan, a portion of the National Highway had knee-deep floods while high water level was recorded at the Dicayo Bridge.

In President Manuel A. Roxas, high water level was recorded at the Piao and Tangian Bridge, as well as in Brgys. Irasan and Langatian.

Floods left at least two houses in Purok Malinggay, Lower Irasan, totally damaged while neck-deep water level was recorded in Purok Tubo, Ramos said, adding that no casualties have so far been reported.

Zamboanga City experienced light to moderate rains and gusty winds around 12:30 p.m. but local authorities have yet to submit reports of any damage, Ramos said.

Ferry runs aground

Meanwhile, a ferry from Zamboanga ran aground in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, amid strong waves Thursday morning.

The ferry, which was carrying 228 passengers and 14 crew members, was manuevering to dock at the Dumaguete Port around 10 a.m. when it ran aground, Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said.

“Wala pang PSWS (public storm warning signal) nung ma-aground pero malakas ang alon,” Balilo said when asked if the incident was caused by tropical depression “Auring.”

As of 2 p.m., Coast Guard, police, and port personnel were still bringing the ferry’s passengers to land via rubber boats, he said.

Palawan alerted

Around 12 noon, the center of “Auring” was located 370 kilometers east of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

Ramos said the weather disturbance was heading towards southern Palawan and could make a landfall Thursday night or early Friday.

“Ngayong gabi baka lalakas dahil ang ugali ng bagyo, pag nag-travel sa dagat, Sulu Sea for this matter, lalakas ito at magbabago ng direksyon,” he said.

Ramos said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has already alerted its units and allied agencies in southern municipalities of Palawan, including Aborlan, Narra, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Quezon, and Rizal.

“They still have 18 hours to go, kaya binigay na natin sa local disaster management units ‘yung discretion kung sila ay magpi-preemptive evacuation. Ang low-lying area lang naman na identified ay isa, yung sa Narra,” he said. (John Roson)

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‘Pablo’ death toll nears 500

The number of fatalities caused by typhoon “Pablo” shot further up to 474 on Friday as authorities continue to search for 300 people who remain missing, mostly in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

“Pablo,” the strongest storm to hit the country this year, has also left more than P4 billion worth of damage, mostly in crops and livestock, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.

Some 223 people died of drowning and mudslides in Compostela Valley alone, the Office of Civil Defense-11 (OCD-11) said in a report Friday.

In Davao Oriental, the number of fatalities jumped to 216 after authorities found 118 bodies in Baganga, Lt. Zaida Vidad, acting spokesperson of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Mati City said, citing figures from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

“It’s (death toll) still increasing… local authorities are considering placing the unidentified and decomposing bodies in a mass grave because of the odor,” Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, told reporters by phone.

“Pablo” also killed 11 people in Northern Mindanao, 11 in Caraga region, seven in Central Visayas, two in Eastern Visayas, two in Palawan, one in Zamboanga City, and one in Capiz, the NDRRMC said.

Some 377 people were still missing in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental as of Friday morning, according to the OCD-11.

P4-B damage to agriculture, infra

As authorities continue to deal with the number of casualties, “Pablo” also reared its ugly head in terms of damages to infrastructure and agriculture, mostly in Mindanao.

The storm dealt an initially estimated P3.36 billion worth of damage to crops, livestock and fisheries in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Northern Mindanao, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, and Davao Oriental, according to the NDRRMC.

Damage to infrastructure like roads, bridges, flood control system, and irrigation in those areas has been initially assessed at P630.97 million, the agency said.

The figures are expected to rise further when more reports come in from damage assessment teams.

The OCD-11 said in its report that agriculture damage in Compostela Valley alone has reached P3.4 billion, as more than 50,000 hectares of land planted with rice, corn, coconut, banana, vegetables, and other high-value crops were destroyed.

5 million affected, 26 areas under ‘calamity’

The storm affected 5,141,356 people in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Caraga, according to the NDRRMC.

An estimated 15,850 houses were damaged and destroyed, forcing 310,620 people to remain in evacuation centers or take shelter at the homes of relatives and friends, the agency said.

Local authorities have declared the entire provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur, and Siquijor under state of calamity, according to the NDRRMC.

Also placed under calamity status are Magsaysay, Araceli, Roxas, San Vicente, Taytay, El Nido, and Cagayancillo of Palawan; Baloi, Kapatagan, Kauswagan, Linamon, Matungao, Pantar, Pantao Ragat, and Salvador of Lanao del Norte; Gitagum, Kinoguitan, Lagonglong, Laguindingan, Libertad, Opol, Talisayan, Gingoog City, and Cagayan de Oro City of Misamis Oriental; Lopez Jaena and Plaridel, Misamis Occidental; as well as Asuncion and San Isidro of Davao del Norte. (John Roson)

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274 dead in ‘Pablo’ onslaught

Pablo making landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Pablo making landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

(Updated 10 p.m.) Some 274 people were killed while 279 went missing as typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) ravaged Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, and nearby areas, authorities said Wednesday.

The huge death toll was made known only a day after “Pablo” struck, as electricity and communication lines were either shut down or cut off, preventing authorities from contacting “isolated” villages.

Four were killed in Central Visayas, two in Eastern Visayas, eight in Northern Mindanao, 253 in Southern Mindanao, the region of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, while seven were killed in Caraga, Office of Civil Defense administrator Benito Ramos said by phone Wednesday night.

“Three-hundred and thirty-nine were injured and 279 are still missing,” Ramos said.

Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental are considered as the “hard-hit” areas, not only because of the high number of deaths but also because of heavy damage to properties and infrastructure, Ramos said in an earlier interview.

Earlier, Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley, said at least 142 people were killed in the province.

Homes, Army detachment washed out

Pablo's devastation. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Pablo’s devastation. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Most of the fatalities were victims of a mudslide in New Bataan, and floods in Monkayo, Paniza said.

Three soldiers of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion – identified as identified as Ssgt. Olivares, Ssgt. Cabillion, and Ssgt. Catague – were among those killed in a mudslide in Brgy. Andap, New Bataan.

“‘Yung detachment or patrol base doon sa area, pati ‘yung mga kalapit na bahay, na-wash out,” he said.

Paniza said 58 people, including soldiers Sgt. Panague, Pfc. Armodia, Pfc. Batua, Sgt. Conejos, Pfc. Hingosa, Pfc. Hopeda, Pfc. Jegapo, and Pfc. Aranez, are still missing in Compostela Valley.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Manila said many of those who died in New Bataan remain unidentified.

Winds brought down evacuation center, moved Army trucks

Evacuees taking shelter behind the wall of an evacuation center whose roof was blown away by Pablo's strong winds. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Evacuees taking shelter behind the wall of an evacuation center whose roof was blown away by Pablo’s strong winds. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

In its report Wednesday afternoon, the Davao Oriental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported 116 deaths in the province alone.

Fifty-nine were killed in Cateel, followed by 31 in Baganga, 15 in Boston, nine in Caraga town, and one each in Manay and Taragona.

Twenty-one people in different towns were still missing, according to the 5 p.m. PDRRMC report.

Lt. Zaida Vidad, acting spokesperson of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Mati City, said the fatalities include 11 people who were killed when an evacuation center collapsed in Cateel due to strong winds.

“Malakas na hangin ang kanilang naramdaman… ang pagka-explain sa akin ng hepe ko doon, umaangat ‘yung Army trucks, gumagalaw sa lakas ng hangin, nadadala ng hangin,” Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental provincial police director, said in a separate phone interview Tuesday night.

Almost all buildings and houses in Brgy. Poblacion, Cateel, were left “roofless,” Mitra added.

More than 200 houses, various infrastructure, and communication towers were destroyed by strong winds, according to the PDRRMC.

Agricultural lands and livestock in Boston suffered severe damages, it added.

21 killed in other areas

Evacuees use a tent to shield themselves from rain beside the evacuation center whose roof was blown away. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

Evacuees use a tent to shield themselves from rain beside the evacuation center whose roof was blown away. (Photo courtesy of Army 701st Brigade)

The NDRRMC, meanwhile, said 21 other people were killed in storm-related incidents in Surigao del Sur (4), Misamis Oriental (4), Agusan del Sur (3), Misamis Occidental (2), Bukidnon (2), Negros Oriental (2), Cebu (1), Siquijor (1), Northern Samar (1), and Southern Leyte (1).

Most of these fatalities were hit by falling trees or victims of drowning, according to the NDRRMC.

Power still out in many areas

As of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, various parts of Cagayan de Oro City, Malaybalay City and Valencia City in Bukidnon, Surigao del Sur, Asudan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Lanao del Sur, and Mabinay in Negros Oriental were still experiencing power outages, the NDRRMC said.

Power and communications lines are also still down in the hard-hit areas of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental, the council said.

As of 8 p.m., the center of “Pablo” was spotted 160 kilometers north-west of Roxas, Palawan, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.

The storm, moving west-northwest at a speed of 15 kilometers per hour, is packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kph and a gustiness of up to 150 kph, according to the state weather bureau.

When it made landfall in Davao Oriental Tuesday morning, “Pablo” had maximum sustained winds of 175 kph and a gustiness of up to 210 kph.

“Pablo,” the strongest storm to hit the country this year, is expected to be 510 kilometers west of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, Thursday afternoon and 700 kilometers west of Subic, Zambales, outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility, Friday afternoon. (John Roson)

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‘Pablo’ kills 2; 4 missing

Two people were killed while four others were reported missing when typhoon “Pablo” slammed into Mindanao Tuesday morning, police said.

Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental Provincial Police director, identified the fatalities as Erlinda Balante, 64, of Manay, and Rossel Along, 22, of Caraga town.

Balante died when her house in Brgy. Poblacion collapsed due to strong winds, while Along was killed after he slipped from the stairs amid the storm’s onslaught, Mitra said in a phone interview.

Four people were reported missing in different areas while two people were injured in Caraga, he said.

“Pablo,” the strongest storm to hit the country this year, made landfall in Baganga, Davao Oriental, around 4:45 a.m.

The storm packed maximum sustained winds of 160 kilometers per hour, with gusts of up to 195 kph as it moved west-northwest at 20 kph.

In Caraga town, the storm toppled electric posts and trees, leaving the main road impassable to vehicles.

“Ang sitwasyon ng kalsada unpassable pa hanggang sa ngayon, marami pong mga malalaking puno, puno ng niyog, at saka mga poste, kable ng kuryente ang nakaharang sa daan,” Mitra said, adding that clearing operations by the DPWH and police were underway.

Liza Mazo, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Southern Mindanao, said floods, landslides, and storm surges caused by the storm damaged a number of roads, bridges, in davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

Among those that experienced landslides were Compostela Valley’s gold-rush area, Mt. Diwata, while storm surges hit Davao Oriental’s coastal towns of Banay-Banay, Manay, and Boston.

Around 10 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services administration tracked the center of the storm to 50 kilometers east of Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

“It is starting to trip electric posts and trees in Bukidnon. Moderate heavy rains are also felt in Bukidnon,” Chief Supt. Gil Hitosis, Northern Mindanao regional police director, said in a text message 10 a.m.

Malaybalay City experienced a power outage amid strong winds, he said.

In Western Visayas, local governments suspended classes at different levels in Capiz, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, and Guimaras, regional police director, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz said. (John Roson)

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Thousands of residents in Northern Mindanao, Caraga, and Eastern Visayas have evacuated their homes as typhoon “Pablo” (international name: Bopha) barreled closer to land Monday, authorities said.

Blanche Gobenciong, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Caraga, said 1,577 families or 7,885 persons have already evacuated in Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, alone.

The “pre-emptive” evacuations started Monday morning as “Pablo” came closer to Hinatuan. Hundreds of people are also being evacuated from flood-prone areas in Tandag City and Bislig City, Gobenciong said.

“Pablo” is expected to be 30 kilometers of Hinatuan Tuesday morning, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.

The state weather bureau earlier predicted that “Pablo” will hit all provinces in Caraga, but announced Monday afternoon that the storm will strike an area between Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental.

“Kahit pa kung saan ‘yan, kasi makikita natin kung gaano kabuo ‘yung bagyo, matatamaan pa rin kami dahil sa hangin at ulan. Hindi man mag-landfall dito, tatamaan pa rin kami ng heavy rain,” Gobenciong said.

“Pablo” has a 600-kilometer radius and packs winds of up to 175 kph and a gustiness of up to 210 kph, the strongest to hit the country this year, according to PAGASA.

Cagayan de Oro City, which felt the wrath of tropical storm “Sendong” (Washi) in 2011, started evacuating its residents around 1 p.m. and suspended classes so even students can prepare.

As of 3 p.m., more than 100 families in have been evacuated from flood-prone areas in Brgys. Carmen, Balulang, Consolacion, and Macasandig, the areas which “Sendong” ravaged, acting city police director Supt. Antonio Montalba said.

Policemen were ordered to help bring the evacuees to schools and gymnasiums located on higher grounds, he said.

Chief Supt. Gil Hitosis, Northern Mindanao regional police chief, said all police units in the region were also ordered to check the “usability” of rescue equipment, especially rubber boats.

Iligan City, which was also heavily devastated by “Sendong” like Cagayan de Oro City, is also in Northern Mindanao.

Gobenciong said evacuations in her region started in Hinatuan, a town that has several island-barangays (villages).

“‘Yung mga island-barangays nag-start sila na i-evacuate, dinala na sa mainland, magkakaroon din ng massive evacuation lalong-lalo na for residents along the coastal areas,” she said.

Classes in the entire Caraga region have also been suspended as many of the provinces were placed under storm warning Signal No. 3, she said.

Sea travel and fishing expeditions were also ordered cancelled, Gobenciong said.

Some 1,685 people, 19 vessels, 54 rolling cargoes, and 10 fishing vessels are now stranded in ports all over the country, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Edgardo Ollet, chief of the NDRRMC’s operations center in Manila, said evacuations have also started in Surigao del Norte’s Siargao Island, the Dinagat Islands, as well as in Leyte and Samar of Eastern Visayas.

Capt. Dranreb Canto, spokesman of the Army’s 802nd Brigade, said pre-emptive evacuations were also conducted Monday in several barangays of St. Bernard, Southern Leyte, the site of a landslide that buried an entire village in 2006.

Among the areas evacuated were Brgys. Sug-angon, Nueva Ezperanza, Tabon Tabon, Libas, and Ayahag.

“Yun kasing mga barangays dun ay prone talaga sa pagpasok ng tubig galing sa taas,” Canto said.

Rey Gozon, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Eastern Visayas, said residents of the region have been advised to also make “personal” preparations.

“Mag-prepare na rin sila ng mga pagkain, at least man lang good for three days, damit, tulugan, at saka ‘yung members of the family na mayroong maintenance medicine, isama na din ‘yun sa kanilang preparation,” he said.

Fishermen were also advised not to venture out to sea to avoid maritime incidents.

“‘Yan kasi ‘yung mahirap na ginagawa natin na response tuwing may bagyo, ‘yung mga nawawalang fishermen, so sana makinig sila sa advise na binibigay sa kanila para maiwasan natin ‘yung untoward incidents,” he said.

On Monday, PAGASA placed the provinces of Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Siargao, the Dinagat Islands, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Davao del Oriental under storm warning Signal No. 3.

Signal No. 2 was hoisted in Southern Leyte, Bohol, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, and Compostela Valley.

Signal No. 1 was raised in Cuyo Island, Biliran, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Samar, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, Siquijor, the entire Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, and Maguindanao. (John Roson)

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