MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has ordered the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to go on "alert mode" in case the weather disturbance hovering over the Pacific Ocean enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
In a press briefing on Friday, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said weather bureau PAGASA is closely monitoring the weather disturbance, which will be named "Katring" once it enters the PAR.
"Once the path of Katring is clearly determined, the NDRRMC, DSWD [Department of Social Welfare and Development] and all the LGUs [local government units] should be on standby to provide the necessary precautions and projected actions, if needed," Lacierda said.
Weather bureau PAGASA said that as of Saturday morning, the weather disturbance was located at 1,360 kilometers east of Northern Luzon, packing center winds of 55 kilometers per hour.
The weather disturbance was moving west northwest at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour.
Manny Mendoza, PAGASA's weather forecaster, told ABS-CBN News that the weather disturbance may enter the PAR by Saturday afternoon.
Mendoza said the weather disturbance, which has been classified a tropical depression, was unlikely to hit land and may head to the southern part of Japan.
The weather forecaster, however, said that if the high pressure area near mainland China intensifies, it may push the weather disturbance down or towards the Philippines.
In case the storm enters the country, Lacierda said the NDRRMC is ready to immediately respond and deploy its rescue units.
Provinces in Northern Luzon such as Isabela and Cagayan were devastated by super typhoon "Juan," the strongest typhoon to enter the country this year.
In its 8 a.m. Saturday update, the NDRRMC said a total of 40,897 people were still in 300 evacuation centers, located mostly in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Cordillera Autonomous Region.
The NDRRMC reported that it has confirmed 26 fatalities from the typhoon, and 4 more people remained missing.
The typhoon's estimated damage to agriculture, mostly on rice crops, was pegged by the NDRRMC at P8.22 billion.