ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Provinces and towns and cities across Western Visayas convened disaster risk reduction bodies and reached out to private sector volunteers as local governments and residents prepared for the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (International name Rai).
Iloilo Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Jerry Bionat told Rappler that Odette is expected to hit the towns of Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miagao, San Joaquin, Tubungan, and Igbaras between 2 to 8 am of December 17.
The Coast Guard Station Western Visayas halted sea travel in the following routes, vice versa:
- Iloilo City to Cebu City
- Estancia, Iloilo to Tabuelan, Cebu via Sagay City, Negros Occidental
- Iloilo City to Bacolod City
- Dumangas, Iloilo to Bacolod City
- Carles, Iloilo to Gigantes Island in the same town
- Estancia, Iloilo to Gigantes and Sicogon Islands, Carles, Iloilo
- Iloilo City to Palawan
- Iloilo City to Manila, Batangas, and Cagayan De Oro
The Aklan Coast Guard Station also issued a sea travel advisory prohibiting all vessel trips, except special trips, which include short trips between the Caticlan Jetty Port in Malay, Aklan, and Boracay Island.
Bionat noted that the storm would only cover some coastal areas of southern Iloilo province, with light to moderate showers over the higher areas.
“There will be rain and wind, but not that strong. There will be only falling twigs or branches. In the seaboards, the water will rise and there will be some surges in the southern seaboards in the coastal municipalities, but not necessarily in the inland areas,” Bionat stated.
He also warned however, that the effects would be felt more at the agricultural sector, particularly with rice farmers and fisherfolk.
“Our rice are at a mature state right now, so if ever the water would be deep, rice would be affected, and that’s one of the things foreseen. The fisherfolk will also be affected, of course,” he added.
The provincial government has prepared dump trucks from the Santa Barbara motor pool and stationed them in Oton, with additional trucks from the Army, the Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.
Private volunteer groups from southern Iloilo have also been tapped to assist with their motor bikes, and the Guimaras provincial government has also assured its assistance.
“Even with the knowledge that we will not be badly hit, we are still preparing if ever needed. We are also coordinating with the National Food Authority and the DSWD for food assistance. We are doing all of our usual actions, as well as other coordination and linkages,” said Bionat.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas had issued advisories as early as Tuesday, December 14, in preparation for the typhoon.
The December 18 celebration of the local Graciano Lopez Jaena Day was cancelled due to the storms.
COVID vaccinations scheduled on December 16 and 17 have likewise been halted, with second doses rescheduled to December 20.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas announced that barangays Sto. Niño Sur, Sto. Niño Norte, Calaparan, Calumpang, and San Juan are “high-risk areas” for Typhoon Odette.
Treñas issued a Memorandum Order on Wednesday raising the city’s alert status to Blue Alert level, as well as the Emergency Preparedness and Response CHARLIE Protocol, and activating the Emergency Operations Center.
In Antique, 14 towns are under watch for rain-induced landslide, including the following barangays. Those in italicized were previously affected by southwest monsoons and typhoons in 2021.
- Anini-y: San Francisco, San Ramon
- Barbaza: Poblacion, Bahuyan, Embarangan, Binangbang Bario, Sitio Lanitan, Yapo, Calapadan, Tig-alaran
- Bugasong: Bulan-bulan, Igbalangao, Bagtason, Ilauod, Tunu-an
- Hamtic: Fabrica, Lindero, Botbot, Casalingan, Guinsang-an, Caromangay, Igbucagay, Maalan, Gen. Fullon, Calacja 2
- Laua-an: Lugta, Omlot, Lindero, Necesito, Guiamon, Yapo, Liberato
- Libertad: Tinigbas, Pucio, Maramig
- Patnongon: Samalague, Bandiangan, Igburi, Bitas, La Rioja, Igbarawan-Magarang, Tamayoc, V. Elio
- San Remigio: Cabunga-an, Bugo
- San Jose: Barangay 5
- Sibalom: Solong, Pis-anan, Igcococ
- Tibiao: Salazar, Castillo, Tuno, Alegre, Esparagoza
- Tobias Fornier: Bagumbayan, Camandagan, Igcado, Igtugas, Lindero, Poblacio Sur, Pacencia, Igduraog, Igbancal B., Atiotes, Igbancal A
- Valderrama: Buluangan I, Pandanan, Takas, Binangonan, Buluangan II, Iglinab, Igmasandig, Bugnay, Bungsod
In a Facebook live briefing on Wednesday, Antique PDRRMO chief Broderick Train said that Odette would be felt hardest in southern Antique, particularly in Anini-y town.
Train said that Antique Governor Rhodora Cadiao ordered the provision of transportation for those in flood and landslide prone areas to be brought to safety even before Odette starts to be felt.
Train said the province started prepositioning early Thursday to prepare for the typhoon.
Municipal DRRMOs, he also said, are ready for deployment and their Emergency Operations Centers activated.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson issued a Provincial DRRM Council Memorandum cancelling all sea trips from San Carlos, Sagay, and Escalante cities.
The memorandum also mandated City and Municipal DRRM Councils in the province to raise their Disaster Operations Centers to Red Alert status.
In response to Negros Occidental Gov. Bong Lacson’s Dec 14 order, sea travel to Cebu island from the northern provincial cities of Sagay, San Carlos, and Escalante are now cancelled. Same for ferry trips to to Dumagat. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/NuP7Q57xuy— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) December 15, 2021
Rappler has also reached out to Negros Occidental’s PDRRMO chief Zeaphard Caelian for updates, but he has not yet responded as of this writing.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia activated the Emergency Operations Center and called all Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committees, government teams and the general public to be prepared.
The mayor also advised communities in low-lying, flood-prone areas and those situated along shorelines or near bodies of water to stay alert.
All barangay DRRM Councils were advised to activate their Barangay Emergency Operations Center, constantly monitor weather advisories, and go around communities to warn residents along shorelines for possible surge, floods and landslides.
City DRRMO chief Dr. Anna Maria Laarni Pornan said the mayor also told village heads to identify evacuation centers, preposition relief food and non-food supplies, as well as rescue equipment, prohibit fishing activities when the seas get rough and observe minimum health protocols especially when already at the evacuation centers. – Rappler.com
Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist from Iloilo City and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.