What gov't has done so far to prepare for Typhoon Ompong

MANILA, Philippines – As President Rodrigo Duterte held a command conference on Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) on Thursday afternoon, September 13, practically the entire Luzon was placed under Signal No. 1.

By Thursday evening, Isabela had already been placed under Signal No. 2, with Ompong continuing to threaten Northern Luzon. (READ: Duterte sends Cabinet members to Luzon provinces in Ompong's path)

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has been on red alert since September 11, which means its personnel are on duty 24/7.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary and NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad also said response clusters have been activated. During a typhoon's landfall, this means several teams are deployed to respond to affected communities.(READ: EXPLAINER: Who's supposed to be in charge during disasters?)

These clusters are responsible for ensuring crucial assistance is provided to typhoon-hit areas.

Here's what the government has done so far to prepare for Ompong:

Clusters: Logistics, emergency telecommunications

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Clusters: Food and non-food items, coordination and management, protection of internally displaced persons

Earlier, the DSWD also announced it had gone on red alert to monitor areas in the path of Ompong and prepare for disaster response. It also secured communication lines and prepositioned food and non-food items for quick delivery to affected areas.

Department of Health (DOH) 
Clusters: Health, with sub-clusters on health services, water sanitation, mental and psychosocial support, and nutrition

Department of National Defense (DND), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
Cluster: Search, rescue and retrieval

Deployed 18 teams or about 146 personnel to assist the following clusters and agencies: 

Department of Education (DepEd)

Education Secretary Leonor Briones also said about 7.7 million learners in 19,704 schools have been affected by Ompong as classes have been suspended in at least 11 regions.

Deparment of Energy (DOE)

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

Department of Agriculture (DA)

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol also estimated that Ompong would affect a total of 1,220,000 hectares of rice and corn. This may reduce the country's rice supply and result in losses of about P3.6 billion to P7.9 billion.

In addition to these, local government units, the AFP, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard were also placed on alert to respond to the typhoon.

Ompong is the Philippines' 15th tropical cyclone for 2018. The country usually gets an average of 20 tropical cyclones per year. (READ: LIST: PAGASA's names for tropical cyclones in 2018) – Rappler.com

News you can use during Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut): 

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.