Editor's note: We have switched to a running report to cover the ongoing rescue operations in Metro Manila after heavy rains leaving many areas in the National Capital Region under water.
(UPDATED 4:08 PM)
At least five people were killed and over 800,000 persons have been affected by floods caused by the Southwest Monsoon in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, official government data showed.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) was quoted in reports as saying that a family perished amid heavy downpour in the capital.
The NDRRMC said 808, 697 persons (179, 026 families) are in areas where there is "widespread flooding," including Metro Manila and the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Cavite, Ilocos, La Union, Laguna and Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales.
Of this number, over half a million individuals (53,951 families) are currently provided with basic needs and services--some evacuation centers and others by their relatives and friends.
The NDRRMC also said about P13 million worth of relief assistance have been deployed as of Aug. 6. The Social Welfare Department provided P6.1 million of this total, while local governments shelled out P6.2 million and non-govermental organizations, P654, 500.
"A total of 202 personnel, 14 vehicles and 14 seacrafts were deployed in various areas in Metro Manila to provide evacuation and search and rescue support," the NDRRMC reported.
It added that government agencies are continuously monitoring and disseminating public weather forecasts and flood advisories.
Regional centers have meanwhile been directed to "undertake precautionary measures in their respective areas of responsibility" and to "initiate pre-emptive evacuation of families in low-lying and mountainous areas" if needed.
Earlier in the day, Palace issued Memorandum Circular 33-A, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, ordering the cancellation of work in private offices in the National Capital Region, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan due to the harsh weather.
Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said companies who refuse to heed the Palace order may be reported to DOLE, amid reports some business process outsourcing companies still require their employees to report for work.
"For government, essential personnel involved in search and rescue and relief, public health, and safety are required to remain on duty. For the private sector, if your employer requires you to go to work, they must be able: (1) to ensure and be responsible for your safety; and (2) to give premium pay. In both instances, subject to existing labor standards: this covers all firms, including BPO and call centers," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a separate statement.
There is no tropical cyclone existing within the Philippine Area of Responsibility, says Pagasa, and the downpour is due to the southwest monsoon.
The Department of Health has meanwhile declared a Code Blue Alert in Metro Manila meaning medical personnel in government hospitals will be on 24-hour duty in anticipation of casualties from floods and heavy rains.
"We have raised the alert due to the series of flooding in various areas of the region and the rising number of affected residents due to the continuous fall of heavy rains. Community Health Teams (CHTs) will be visiting local government units to provide medical assistance to residents affected by flood. Leptospirosis prophylaxis will also be given to residents in evacuation centers to avert possible spread of leptospirosis in the area," DOH regional director Eduardo Janairo announced Tuesday afternoon.
During a Code Blue Alert, medicine and medical supplies will be ready for distribution to areas affected by the floods, and DOH operation centers will be running round the clock, the department said in a press statement. "Close coordination with local government units, emergency and disaster units and also with the Armed Forces are being effected to handle possible calamities," Janairo said.
TV reports now show that the heavy rains have placed many areas in the National Capital Region under water. The North Luzon Expressway-Balintawak area is already flooded, with traffic being diverted.
The Marikina river has also breached 19-meter level, prompting residents near the area to evacuate.
Heavy rains on Monday evening and La Mesa Dam's spill prompt local governments to suspend classes for Tuesday, as floods hit Quezon City, Valenzuela, and Malabon.