PH braces for super typhoon Betty with 'adopt a neighbor', churches as evacuation sites


Posted at May 27 2023 10:28 AM | Updated as of May 27 2023 03:38 PM

 Pedestrians and motorists navigate through rain and flood after a sudden downpour in Manila City on May 26, 2023 hours before the arrival of super typhoon Mawar. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Pedestrians and motorists navigate through rain and flood after a sudden downpour in Manila City on May 26, 2023 hours before the arrival of super typhoon Mawar. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Philippine authorities on Saturday ironed out evacuation plans and sought public cooperation ahead of the expected onslaught of super typhoon Betty. 

Betty, which entered the Philippine area of responsibility before dawn, will bring heavy rains and strong winds in northern Luzon. It may also enhance the habagat, which will bring rains in other western sections of the country, the state weather forecaster said. 

In the northern province of Cagayan, authorities are asking residents with well-constructed houses to take in neighbors with weaker homes. 

"Ini-implement kasi nitong mga disaster brigades natin iyong tinatawag nilang 'adopt a neighbor' kung saan kung sino yung may matibay na bahay, doon muna aampunin yung mga kapitbahay na mahina ang pagkakatayo," Cagayan disaster office head Ruelie Rapsing said. 

"Bagama't may mga identified evacuation areas 'yung ating mga barangay at mga munisipyo, ang pinakaunang evacuation centers natin ay ang ating mga kapitbahay na matitibay ang istruktura," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(The disaster brigades are implementing the so-called 'adopt a neighbor' strategy where they ask those with strong houses to shelter their neighbors with weak homes. While there are identified evacuation areas, our first evacuation centers are our neighbors with strong houses.)

Churches in Cagayan were also asked to give shelter to those who might need to evacuate, he said. 

Cagayan identified 11 coastal areas prone to floods, landslides and storm surges, Rapsing said. 

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In Batanes, where signal no. 3 winds are possible, disaster official Dan Esdicul said preparations started a few days ago. 

Neighbors helped each other dock their boats outside houses or at a shelter in Mahatao town. 

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Isabela's disaster office, meanwhile, organized 6 search and rescue teams, as it anticipated heavy flooding from the super typhoon.


The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)identified Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and the Bangsamoro as the most “susceptible” to massive floods and landslides, the Palace said. 

The DSWD allocated some P598 million in standby funds, preposition about a million food packs across the country, and prepared P819 million worth of non-food items.

Water filtration equipment, generator sets, and emergency communication systems are also on standby, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesperson Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro said. 

“Ang advice lang natin, let us cooperate sa lahat ng mga ahensya or sa ating local leaders at makinig po at maghanda talaga dito sa bagyo,” he said in a separate TeleRadyo interview. 

(Our advice is let us cooperate with all agencies or our local leaders, listen, and prepare for this storm.) 


Meanwhile, sea trips in Manila, Batangas and Matnog remained “normal” at around 8 a.m. But some shipping lines have suspended trips in Eastern Visayas to avoid possible rough seas due to Mawar, the Philippine Coast Guard said. 

“Ang regulasyon po ng Philippine Coast Guard, ‘pag pumasok po yung bagyo at nagkaroon ng public storm warning signal at itinaas sa isang lugar, kagyat po ay tayo po’y magsu-suspend ng maritime activities to include recreational activities,” PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said. 

(The Philippine Coast Guard's regulation is once the cyclone enters and a public storm warning signal is raised in an area, we suspend maritime activities to include recreational activities.)


The disaster office in Manila also prepared evacuation centers, including gymnasiums and schools particularly in Delpan, said its spokesperson Princess Abante.

Rescue equipment included flood control trucks, transport trucks, rubber boats, and ambulances including mobile kitchen trucks, she said. 

Floods and storm surges usually affect in low-lying areas in Manila, including the Baseco area, Isla Puting Bato, Parola compound, Barangay 105 and Barangay 128, which are near Manila Bay. 

Betty was spotted 1,170 kilometers east of Central Luzon at 10 a.m., packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near the center and up to 240 kph gusts, according to PAGASA.

For more updates, visit the ABS-CBN weather center.

— With reports from Rowegie Abanto, Jose Carretero, and Jeck Batallones, ABS-CBN News