MANILA -– Upon instructions of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II is going to Borongan, Eastern Samar to help ensure the local government units (LGUs) are well prepared for the possible onslaught of typhoon “Ruby” this weekend.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), typhoon Ruby is to make landfall on Saturday evening over the Eastern Samar-Northern Samar area and it will be associated with strong winds, storm surge (4-5 meters) and heavy-intense rainfall.
Roxas, who is also vice chairman of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), will personally help coordinate the preparations of Eastern Samar’s local chief executives (LCEs), whom he has dubbed as “first responders” in times of disaster.
Based on the NDRRMC briefing attended by the President and his Cabinet members on Thursday, Eastern Samar is going to be among the first provinces to be affected by typhoon Ruby.
It was also reported that there would be heavy rainfall in Northern Leyte and Eastern Samar, as well as storm surges as high as three to four meters (as high as a one-story house). As such, mayors were given preliminary instructions via telephone calls, texts and memos about the minimum critical preparations that must be put in place.
“Over 50 out of 80 provinces will be affected. We have alerted 995 municipalities and 85 cities in these areas,” the DILG chief said.
Roxas also reported that the DILG will coordinate with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the immediate evacuation of residents in high- risk areas.
He also said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is now on full alert, and the leaves of its personnel in areas to be affected by the typhoon have all been cancelled.
Moreover, the PNP has been directed to have presence in commercial areas to preempt possible disorder and looting.
Meanwhile, Roxas said the mayors in Metro Manila should also take precautionary measures because the National Capital Region (NCR) may experience heavy rains even if it is not along the typhoon’s path.
He said the mayors are advised to take necessary actions 36 hours ahead.
At the same time, the DILG has alerted its field offices to coordinate closely with LGUs, activate the LDRRMCs, and conduct pre-emptive actions like pre-emptive evacuation in low-lying areas.
All LGUs have been directed to take preparedness measures in consonance with the checklist issued by the agency and also monitor submission of compliance pre-typhoon checklist of LGUs, whether there are partial or full alert preparations done and presence of respective LCEs in their areas of responsibility.