Expected heat to worsen transport strike woes

By , on May 20, 2017


Commuters must brace for possible scorching heat on Monday and Tuesday amid the nationwide transport strike reportedly set for staging on the same days. (Photo: Alexandr Trubetskoy/ Flickr)
Commuters must brace for possible scorching heat on Monday and Tuesday amid the nationwide transport strike reportedly set for staging on the same days. (Photo: Alexandr Trubetskoy/ Flickr)

MANILA–Commuters must brace for possible scorching heat on Monday and Tuesday amid the nationwide transport strike reportedly set for staging on the same days.

Metro Manila’s heat index (HI) this Monday can soar to 40.2°C – the highest expected in the country then, warned Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA also forecast HIs in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao to reach 38.6°C and 37.4°C on Monday, respectively.

For Tuesday, PAGASA expects HIs to reach 39.6°C in Metro Manila, 38.4°C in Metro Cebu and 37.1°C in Metro Davao.

HI is a human discomfort indicator of what people either perceive or feel as temperature affecting their bodies, noted PAGASA.

People must exercise “extreme caution” against heat cramps and heat exhaustion which can happen if HIs hover between 32°C and 41°C, noted PAGASA.

Heat stroke could result from continuous activities, PAGASA also said.

In its outlook released Saturday (May 20), PAGASA forecast temperature on Monday and Tuesday to reach 35°C in Metro Manila and 32°C in Metro Cebu.

Metro Davao’s temperature can hit 32°C this Monday and 33°C on Tuesday, PAGASA continued.

The country’s warmest month is May with a mean temperature of 28.3°C only, however, noted PAGASA.

According to PAGASA, the combination of high temperature and high relative humidity will yield high HIs.

HIs can be 3°C to 5°C more than air temperature, noted PAGASA.

The difference may even exceed 5°C if relative humidity is really high, warned PAGASA impact assessment section chief Thelma Cinco.

PAGASA urged people to stay indoors as much as possible, warning full exposure to sunlight – such as when they’re outside waiting for rides during transport strikes – can increase HIs by 8°C.

People must drink plenty of water regularly as the body needs this liquid to keep cool, PAGASA continued.

“Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing,” PAGASA also said, noting light colors reflect heat from the sun.

Last year, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and transportation committee chairperson Rep. Cesar Sarmiento filed HB 4334 (Traffic Crisis Act of 2016).

They cited HB 4334 as an “urgent, immediate and comprehensive response to the traffic crisis that is prevalent in the Metropolitan Manila Area, Metropolitan Cebu and Metropolitan Davao.”

Transport groups planned staging the strike on Monday and Tuesday, however, fearing HB 4334 promotes phaseout of jeepneys aged 15 years and older.