'Vicky' strands passengers in Cebu

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MORE than 300 passengers were stranded in Cebu ports as of 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 after the Philippine Coast Guard District Central Visayas halted sea travel in areas under storm signal number 1 as Tropical Depression (TD) Vicky crossed parts of Mindanao.

A total of 230 passengers bound for Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, Surigao, and Masbate were stranded at the Cebu Port’s Terminal 1, while 68 passengers bound for Dapitan were stranded in Mainit port, Oslob in southern Cebu.

Ten passengers bound for Negros were also stranded in Tabuelan port.

The Coast Guard Stations of Camotes and Eastern Bohol also suspended travel for all types of vessels, regardless of tonnage, in areas placed under a tropical cyclone warning signal.

The trips include those bound for Southern Leyte, Central Cebu, Southern Cebu, Camotes Island, Siquijor, Bohol, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Iloilo and the southern portion of Antique in the Visayas; Palawan, Calamian Island, Cuyo Island, and Cagayancillo Island in Luzon, and Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Camiguin Island, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay in Mindanao.

Al Quiblat, chief of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)-Mactan station, said the region can expect moderate to heavy, and at times intense, rainfall on Saturday, Dec. 19 due to TD Vicky.

He also warned authorities and the public to be alert for possible flooding and landslide.

“It’s dangerous because we experienced prolonged rains,” Quiblat said in Cebuano.

Typhoon track

As of press time, Pagasa said the center of TD Vicky was estimated, based on all available data, in the vicinity of Monkayo, Davao de Oro with maximum sustained winds of 45 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center and gustiness of up to 75 km/h.

TD Vicky made landfall in the vicinity of Baganga, Davao Oriental at 2 p.m on Friday.

The state weather bureau said TD Vicky is expected to move generally west northwestward while over the landmass of Mindanao.

By Saturday morning, TD Vicky will likely emerge over the Bohol Sea, pass close to Siquijor or Misamis Occidental and pass close or make another landfall over the southern portion of Negros Island.

Quiblat said TD Vicky is forecasted to remain a tropical depression while crossing the Philippine archipelago.

On Friday morning, Pagasa issued a Yellow Warning level for Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental.

A yellow warning means 7.5 to 15 millimeters (mm) of rain is expected, making flooding and landslide possible.

For Orange Warning, 15 to 30 mm of rainfall is expected. He said this comes with the same indication that the public and the authorities should be prepared.

The highest level of warning is the Red Warning which calls for action because the expected rainfall is beyond 30 mm.

For its part, the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) set up an incident command post in Barangay Mambaling at 10 p.m, Thursday as rains began to pour in Cebu Thursday night.

The Cebu CDRRMO said no significant incidents had been reported as of Friday morning.

Preemptive evacuation

In Talisay City, Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. called on barangays that have areas susceptible to flooding and landslides to conduct preemptive evacuations.

“I am asking our barangays to conduct preemptive evacuation in areas that have a high chance of flooding and landslide to avoid any possible loss of life. I’m asking the same from our barangays in the coastal areas as well,” Gullas said on his official Facebook page.

Talisay City is among the areas in Cebu currently placed under Signal No. 1.

Gullas said the local police, the fire department, the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-Toda), the City Social Welfare Office and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office are all on standby in case of any untoward incidents brought about by TD Vicky.

As part of precautionary measures, Gullas also ordered the temporary closure of the Manipis-Uling Access Road that connects Talisay City to Toledo City after local officials discovered debris falling from cliffs in Barangay Manipis.

He urged constituents to cooperate should they be asked to evacuate.

Mandaue City

Personnel from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) trimmed trees around the city that could pose a danger to residents.

Buddy Alain Ybañez, head of Mandaue’s CDRRMO, said they have contacted all 27 barangay captains in the city to monitor if there are any more trees that need to be trimmed.

Ybañez said they are prioritizing trees that are likely to fall on houses or block the road.

Lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, said the mayor had tasked the CDRRMO and barangay captains to continue monitoring their areas.

The CDRRMO is checking on the water levels of Butuanon River, Mahiga creek and Tipolo creek.

As of Friday morning, Ibañez said there was still no abnormal rise in the city’s rivers.

Ibañez said if rains and winds intensify, forced evacuation will be implemented especially in areas prone to floods and landslides.

The city is looking into the conditions of 300 houses on the easement of the Butuanon river and Mahiga creek.

Ibañez said in Barangay Tingub and Barangay Cabancalan, they have seen slight landslides along the river. / WBS, JKV, KFD