DepEd suspends classes in NCR due to non-stop rains

(Updated 9:20 a.m.) Classes from preschool to high school levels were suspended Thursday in the National Capital Region after hours of continuous rains, according to the Department of Education after consulting with state weather forecasters.

Department of Education (DepEd) NCR director Elena Ruiz made the announcement on dzBB radio shortly after 4 a.m., as she also cited recommendations from school superintendents in the region.

"Dahil na rin sa kahilingan ng ibang mga superintendent ng Metro Manila, minarapat ng DepEd NCR na suspindihin ang klase sa lahat ng antas... sa araw na ito," she said.

The DepEd has jurisdiction over preschool, elementary and high school. The Commission on Higher Education supervises schools at the collegiate level, although classes in many colleges are due to start next week.

According to DepEd, the decision to cancel classes in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) region which has also experienced rainy weather, will depend on education authorities there.

In Batangas, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said a subdivision in Batangas City was flooded, but the floodwaters subsided as of 1 a.m.

In an interview on Unang Balita DepEd Region IV-A director Lorna Dino said only the Batangas City superintendent has confirmed suspension of classes in the city.

"I leave it to the different division superintendent to coordinate with local officials in making decisions on class suspension. Pero sa ngayon, Batangas City lang ang nag-suspend ng classes," Dino said.

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Radio dzBB's Sam Nielsen reported early Thursday that classes were also suspended in Antipolo City in Rizal province and in San Pablo City in Laguna.

In Quezon City, on the other hand, some students who did not know about the suspension showed up for classes.

At an elementary school in the Kamuning district, students who showed up said they did not listen to the radio, according to a report by dzBB's Glen Juego.

Security guards at the school were instructed to stay at their posts to inform students who would show up for school that classes were suspended for the day.

On Wednesday night, the heavy rains prompted the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to go on yellow alert.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned of flash floods and landslides in parts of Central and Southern Luzon.

"Maaring hanggang bukas o Sabado maaring maulan tayo," PAGASA forecaster Ben Oris said in an interview on dzBB radio Thursday.

He also said the low-pressure area (LPA) causing the rains is likely to become a cyclone, but only after it leaves Philippine territory.

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, PAGASA said the LPA was estimated at 50 km northwest of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro and embedded along the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting the country.

For his part, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino ordered flood and traffic control teams deployed to parts of the metropolis affected by the rains and resulting floods, radio dzBB reported Thursday.

Several teams were fielded to flood-prone areas in the Ortigas area in eastern Metro Manila, and in places where water concessionaires were conducting repair work.

Floods in Manila

Parts of Manila were flooded due to the heavy rains, partly due to garbage clogging the drainage.

Gutter-deep floodwater was noted near the City Hall area before dawn Thursday.

Traffic slowed down in flood-hit areas including Abad Santos Street in Tondo and Tomas Mapua Street in the Chinatown area, the dzBB report added.

Garbage also piled up in other areas in Tondo early Thursday.

In Marikina City, many residents were kept awake for fear the Marikina River might overflow although the water level remained normal as of Thursday morning, radio dzBB's Sam Nielsen reported.

However, the city government still kept its rescue team on alert for possible floods, especially in flood-prone villages such as Nangka, Concepcion, Calumpang, Sta. Elena, and Sto. Niño.

Marikina City was one of the areas devastated by floods brought by tropical cyclone "Ondoy" (Ketsana) in 2009.

More classes suspended elsewhere

The DepEd also announced that classes in parts of Central and Southern Luzon were suspended due to heavy rains.

It made the announcement in a series of entries on its Twitter account that began making updates only after 8 a.m.

In Central Luzon, the areas where classes were suspended included: Bulacan:
- Malolos City (afternoon classes in preschool and elementary; no advice for classes in high school yet)
- Doña Remedios Trinidad and Obando, Bulacan (all levels)
- Pariahan Elementary School, Don Isidoro Teodoro High School in Bulacan town in Bulacan are suspended.

Pampanga, Bataan:
- Angeles City, Pampanga; Balanga City and Limay in Bataan (all levels)In Southern Luzon, the areas where classes were suspended included: Antipolo City in Rizal Province

- Lemery, Bauan, Batangas City, Calaca, and Taal (suspended in all levels)

- Kawit, Cavite

- Alaminos and San Pablo City

— LBG, GMA News