NDRRMC to travellers: Stay if location, destination are under storm signal
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) advised all tourists and residents planning to travel by land or sea in affected areas are advised to stay in safe places.
"If there are tourists or locals who plan leave affected areas, they should stay until the danger of landslide and heavy rain is over," Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assistant secretary Vilma Cabrera said, emerging from an NDRRMC meeting on Saturday night, April 4.
"If they've left their hotels or resorts, they should look for safe areas to stay," Cabrera added.
Meanwhile, "travellers who were late in leaving Baler were asked to stay, and [remain] in safer places,” Allan Tabell, chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center (DILG-CODIX), said on Saturday night.
On Saturday morning, around 40 people and 55 private vehicles were stranded in Mogpog, Marinduque, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council's (NDRRMC) response cluster. They were on their way to Dalahican Port in Lucena in Quezon province, which has been placed under Signal No 1.
Meanwhile, a family in Doña Choleng Resort on Cagbalete Island in Quezon province wanted to leave the island but were not allowed to embark. A member of the family alerted MovePH, Rappler's civic engagement arm, via Twitter.
MovePH, which operates disaster information platform Project Agos, informed NDRRMC about the concern.
In a text message to NDRRMC on Saturday afternoon, the local government said it advised the stranded travellers to stay on the island as it would be risky to travel by boat.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also advised the public to stay where they are if their destination is still placed under a storm signal.
"Bumalik muna sila sa pinanggalingan nila. Maaaring imagination lang ang bagyo kung nasaan sila dahil wala ngang storm signal sa kanila. Pero hindi imagination lang ang bagyo sa point of destination," Captain Juancho Maraño of PCG told Rappler. (We urge them to go back to where they are. While their location is not under any storm signal, their point of destination is.)
Under the PCG typhoon protocol, ships carrying passengers cannot embark when either the point of origin or the point of destination is under a storm signal. Ships may embark, but only to seek shelter or move to a safer location, Maraño said.
The PCG also advised passengers to contact their shipping companies to inquire about the rebooking process.
Raymund Liboro of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) earlier said the risk exposure is higher during holidays like Holy Week, when many Filipinos are traveling.
"We’re really taking into consideration na itong mga panahong ito mas mataas ang exposure dahil ang mga tao nasa mga lugar na hindi karaniwang pinupuntahan. Yung mga dating hindi namamangka, namamangka, yung dating hindi umaakyat ng bundok, umaakyat ng bundok," he added.
(We're really taking into consideration that during this time there is higher exposure because people go to places they usually don't frequent. Those who don't usually ride boats and climb mountains do so.)
"Hindi natin ipagsasapalaran ang kaligtasan ng ating mga tao (We will not risk the safety of the people)," Maraño stressed. – With reports from Gerard Raymond Lim/Rappler.com