Negros Occidental, Bacolod on red alert; PCG halts Cebu-Escalante travel

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has placed Western Visayas, including Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, under red alert.

The Philippine Coast Guard also suspended sea travel between Escalante City in Negros Occidental, and Tabuelan, Cebu, Sunday afternoon, April 10, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

Tabuelan was placed under Signal No. 1 due to Tropical Storm “Agaton”, it said.

Mayor Marvin Malacon issued an executive order on Sunday suspending classes at all levels and work in government offices in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, due to Tropical Depression Agaton until the red alert status in Negros Occidental is lifted.

Tropical Storm “Agaton” is not expected to directly hit Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division head, said.

However, the continuous rains could cause flooding and landslides, he warned.

A Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) advisory issued 6 p.m. Sunday said the rains are likely to affect rivers and their tributaries in Negros Occidental, particularly Malogo, Sicaba, Grande, Himogaan, Danao, Upper Tabanan, Sipalay and lower Ilog.

People living near the mountain slopes and in the low lying areas of those river systems are advised to be alert for possible flashfloods, it said.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson called for prayers and on all the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMCs) in the province to be on alert.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said all DRRMCs in the province have been placed on red alert for close monitoring, consolidation of reports and coordination with concerned agencies and stakeholders.

“Charlie Protocol” has also been activated in Western Visayas.

“Charlie Protocol” means that the LGUs covered are considered “high risk areas” and residents in these places, particularly those living near bodies of water or coastal communities should take precautionary measures, Dr. Anna Maria Laarni Pornan, Bacolod DRRMO head, said.

LGUs in these areas must send warnings and advisories, cascade preparedness directions, and activate Emergency Operations Centers to red alert, she said.

The center of Tropical Storm “Agataon” was over the coastal waters of Lawaan, Eastern Samar, as of 7 p.m. Sunday, PAGASA reported.

It had maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h near the center, gustiness of up to 105 km/h, and central pressure of 998 hPa, it added.*

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