MANILA - Disaster officials said Tuesday they have been preparing for a scenario similar to that of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) as typhoon Mangkhut nears the Philippine area of responsibility.
While Mangkhut is not the same as Yolanda in magnitude, they said, the typhoon, which will called Ompong once it enters PAR on Wednesday, continues to gain strength.
"Ang preparation natin ay level ng Yolanda. We have learned a lot after Yolanda." said Edgar Posadas, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman. (Our preparation is Yolanda-level.)
"Hindi naman ibig sabihin na Mangkut isa the same level as Yolanda pero anything can happen kasi lumalakas pa siya habang lumalapit sa PAR," he added.
(That doesn't mean, though, that Mangkhut and Yolanda are in the same level but anything can happen because the typhoon continues to intensify as it nears PAR)
Posadas said Mangkhut will intensify the southwest monsoon (habagat) which will cause rains over Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Kalinga. Abra, Ilocos Norte, Batanes and the Babuyan islands.
He said a P1.7-billion augmentation fund for relief aid from the Department of Social Welfare and Development was on standby for these areas.
The NDRRMC official said telecommunication companies also committed to provide emergency lines in case there are power or signal outages.
Regional disaster officials also assured that there are still enough rice and other food items especially because Tuesday's good weather allowed authorities to pre-position supplies, he added.
Posadas said because the diameter of the typhoon measures around 600 kilometers, its outer bands may also affect Metro Manila in the coming days.
PAGASA categorizes a weather system with top sustained winds of 220 kph as a super typhoon, but Mangkhut can carry winds of up to 250 kph as it approaches extreme northern Luzon, said ABS-CBN weather specialist Nilo Millanes.
Posadas said disaster officials will hold more meetings with local government officials as they prepare for the potential super typhoon.