MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is now on blue alert as a storm (international name: Guchol) continues to move towards the country.
The weather disturbance will be named “Butchoy” once it enters the Philippine area of responsibility by late Thursday or early Friday.
Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said they have been coordinating with local government units in preparation for the storm’s arrival.
“Pinaigting na ‘yung pag-organize ng emergency response units ng cities and municipalities,” he told ANC’s “Primetime” on Wednesday.
Ramos also said residents of northern Mindanao have been warned of floods and landslide that may occur because of the bad weather.
He added that the public is now more vigilant in preparing for disasters.
“Nakikinig na ang ating mga kababayan dahil sa palaging experience nila at sa lessons learned, lalo na ‘yung sa Sendong,” he said.
The NDRRMC, which is targeting a zero-casualty rate, has advised fishermen in Palawan and in the eastern portions of the country, including Bicol, Samar, Surigao and Davao, not to go out to sea.
The Philippine Coast Guard is also set to issue advisories if big ships will be allowed to sail.
NDRRMC said over 3,000 families have already been affected by flashfloods in Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat due to rains caused by a shallow low pressure area.
Butchoy is not expected to make landfall but it may bring more rains to the Mindanao region.
Weather bureau PAGASA and other government agencies are also on blue alert for the incoming storm. -- with reports from Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News; ANC