LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Albay provincial government clarified that its class suspensions on Wednesday, October 8, are due to weather and not activity detected in Mayon Volcano, due for an eruption in weeks.
The class suspensions in the preschool and elementary levels, declared at 9 am on Wednesday, are due to rains, Cedric Daep Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office department head, told the media.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda later suspended high school and vocational classes for the day at around 10 am.
The remnants of Typhoon Ompong (Vongfong), which entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility Tuesday night, left a rainband currently affecting the province, said PAGASA meteorologist for Southern Luzon Lilian Guillermo.
But Ompong is too far away from Bicol to be of any real damage. As of 9 am, the typhoon was spotted 1,090 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City in Northern Luzon.
She said the rainband over Albay may cause light rainfall, or rain falling at a rate of 7 millimeters per hour.
Daep said that the decision to call off classes was due to health conditions that may be caused even by light rain, given that many students are in evacuation centers.
Of the more than 50,200 evacuees, around 32,000 are children.
"When it starts to rain, the people in evacuation centers start to get colds or fever. The evacuation centers aren't completely set up yet so we need an intermediate response. For sure, when the centers are congested and there's a weather system affecting the area, those who are sick with fever will increase. That's another problem we want to prevent," Daep told Rappler.
He said they decided to suspend classes for younger children because those in elementary and preschools are more susceptible to sickness.
High school and vocational classes were also suspended because these classes are also being held in evacuation centers.
Only the college level have classes because college buildings are not being used as evacuation centers, thus students who go to class are more protected from the imclement weather, said Daep.
Daep said the class suspension was only for the day. If rains persist, the local government is yet to decide whether to call off classes in the next few days. – Rappler
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.