MANILA—Cagayan is "preparing for the worst" as typhoon Kiko is expected to hit the province, its governor said Friday.
The local government has raised the red alert level and might begin preemptive evacuation later Friday, according to Governor Manuel Mamba.
Classes and government work have also been suspended, he added.
"We’re preparing for the worst. Sanay naman po kami sa supertyphoon. We've had two supertyphoons already, Ompong and Lawin...Nakaprepare naman po kami," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We’re preparing for the worst, we're used to supertyphoons. We've had two supertyphoons already, Ompong and Lawin...We've prepared.)
State weather bureau PAGASA earlier raised tropical cyclone wind Signal No. 3 over a part of Cagayan even as typhoon Kiko (International name: Chanthu) slightly weakened.
Signal No. 3 was raised over the extreme northeastern portion of Cagayan, which includes the town of Santa Ana. Destructive typhoon-force winds may prevail over the said area within 18 hours.
In its 5 a.m. Friday weather bulletin, PAGASA said Kiko was last located 280 kilometers east northeast of Casiguran town, Aurora, packing maximum sustained winds of 185 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center with 230-kph gusts and winds extending 230 kms from the typhoon's center.
It was last seen moving west northwestward at 20 kph.
The province had also prepared for Tropical storm Jolina, which also reached typhoon category during its peak, but it did not reach Cagayan, the governor added.
Cagayan's COVID-19 inoculation program is ongoing and the governor said he has asked vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr for additional doses.
"I talked to him last night, I'm asking kung pwede naman po sana medyo bigyan ng priority ang vaccination sa'min dahil paisa-isang libo po ang dumadating," Mamba said.
(I asked him if the province's vaccination can be given priority because we only receive only 1,000 doses per delivery.)
Cagayan Valley Medical Center, the region's referral center, has also evacuated its virus patients out of tents.