President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. suspended work on Monday in government offices in eight regions, including Metro Manila, and classes were also suspended as Super Typhoon “Karding” made landfall in Quezon province and was seen to cross the Luzon landmass on Sunday night.
Mr. Marcos heeded the advice of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), which briefed the President on the expected heavy to intense torrential rain that would be brought by the super typhoon.
Besides Defense Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr., who chairs the NDRRMC, Mr. Marcos said in a statement he was also “in constant contact” with Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo and Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum.
“The President is also in constant communication with DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Secretary Benhur Abalos for possible evacuations, especially in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding,” the Palace statement added.
In anticipation of Karding, the Department of Education, under Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, also issued Department Order No. 37 that set guidelines allowing schools to automatically cancel classes from kindergarten to Grade 12 if Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 or worse was raised in their areas by the state weather bureau.
Class suspensions would also be automatic for areas under orange or red rainfall warnings, under flood warnings issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), or for areas hit by earthquake Intensity 5 or worse as reported by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the DepEd order added.
“There will be an automatic cancellation or suspension of classes in the event that there are power outages/power interruptions/brownouts in schools,” it said further.
In all instances, local chief executives “shall decide on the cancellation or suspension of classes” where there is bad weather but is not due to a typhoon, heavy rainfall alert, or flood warning from PAGASA, the Education department order added.
“In the event of canceled or suspended classes, modular distance learning, performance tasks, projects or make-up classes shall be implemented to ensure that learning competencies and objectives are still met,” the order stated.
Private schools and community learning centers, along with state/local universities and colleges (SUCs/LUCs) “have the option to abide by the provisions of the DepEd Order”.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), meanwhile, advised farmers to closely monitor the movement of Karding and take necessary actions to minimize the impact on 1,469,037 hectares planted for rice, and 281,322 hectares planted for corn.
Faustino said that based on the latest track of PAGASA, “In this regard, the NDRRMC recommends the suspension of work in government offices in the National Capital Region, including provinces in Regions 1, 2, CAR, 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and 5 on Sept. 26, 2022 (Monday), excluding frontline agencies which are providing emergency services.”
“The same course for action for private companies, offices, and schools is left to the discretion of their respective heads,” Faustino said.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday said it has already alerted all its units for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in areas expected to be affected by Karding.
These include the Northern Luzon Command, Southern Luzon Command, and Western Command, and all units under their joint operational control.
Deployment of trucks and personnel is ongoing to assist in the mandatory evacuation of residents in vulnerable areas. Air and naval assets are also on standby for deployment as soon as the weather clears for aerial assessment, transport, and evacuation operations.
“We call on the public to be vigilant and cooperate with government authorities. Let us all do our part in keeping the damage low and averting casualties in the wake of this super typhoon,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Army (PA) through its 7th Infantry Division whose area of responsibility covers Central Luzon and parts of Northern Luzon and the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion, has prepared humanitarian assistance and disaster response teams.
The 69th Infantry Battalion, 70th Infantry Battalion, 71st InfantryBattalion, and 84th Infantry Battalion of 7th Infantry Division marshalled disaster response teams that will be deployed to save lives in Central Luzon, the region that is expected to bear the brunt of Karding, the third super typhoon to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility this year.
On Sunday, the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) announced the suspension of work on Monday due to Super Typhoon Karding.
“All officials and key personnel should, however, keep an open line of communication,” OPS Undersecretary Maria Pamela Pedroche said in a memorandum.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also suspended the session and all hearings on Monday due to Karding.
Senate employees will resume work on Sept. 27.In preparation for the storm, the Department of Agriculture (DA) urged all regional field units (RFUs) to activate the DA regional disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) operation centers while prepositioning rice and corn seeds, drugs, and biologics for livestock and poultry in safe storage facilities.
RFUs are expected to coordinate with local government unit (LGU) counterparts, and other regional DRRM-related offices in monitoring Karding while continuously disseminating advisories to the local farmer leaders to trickle the information down to the community level.
The DA also advised farmers to monitor damages and losses that may be incurred in livestock and fisheries.
The Department of Energy (DOE) said it was coordinating with different agencies and energy stakeholders to minimize the impact of typhoon Karding on the energy sector. DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said they were readying manpower and equipment for the immediate response to damaged facilities.
“We are monitoring the status of the generating facilities, particularly those in Luzon…They have already started operationalizing their contingency and resiliency program,” DOE Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan added.
Manila Electric Company (Meralco) said its systems and personnel are ready to respond immediately to power outages that may result from Typhoon Karding.
“Our crews are on standby to attend to any trouble that may affect our facilities in areas that might be hit by the typhoon,” Meralco Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications Joe R. Zaldarriaga said.
In other developments:
• The Taguig City government reminded residents to stay updated by monitoring weather updates through television, the internet, or radio. Power interruptions may also occur so gadgets must be fully charged, the city government said.
• In Marikina City, Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said they have deployed disaster and rescue personnel to respond to the needs of residents and evacuation centers are open. “We have pre-positioned our rescue equipment which will be immediately utilized if needed,” Teodoro said in a statement. “We are monitoring the water level along the Marikina River 24/7, as well as the rainfall count. Residents, especially those dwelling in low-lying areas, are advised to prepare if there is a need to evacuate.”
• Aside from suspending classes on all levels, public and private, and online and face-to-face, Mayors Honey Lacuna of Manila and Francis Zamora of San Juan announced work suspension in local government departments and offices except those involved in disaster response.
The cities of Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Parañaque, Quezon, and Malabon and the province of Rizal also announced the class suspension on all levels, public and private.
• The Metro Manila Development Authority said it won’t implement the number coding scheme on Monday.
• The Supreme Court has ordered the suspension of work Monday in all courts in the National Capital Region, Region III (Central Luzon), and Regions IV and V (Southern Luzon) due to Super Typhoon Karding. Acting Chief Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen issued the work suspension, as Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo is on an official trip abroad and will be back on Sept. 27. Leonen’s directive mandates there will be no work in the SC, Court of Appeals in Manila, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and all trial courts in the four areas covered by his order. Trial court judges outside of the four areas were given the discretion to suspend work in their areas of jurisdiction.