MANILA – As the country braces for Typhoon Ambo (Vongfong), Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday called on all the local government units (LGUs) in the projected path of the storm to integrate coronavirus disease (Covid-19) protocols into their contingency plans for the incoming weather disturbance.
“The threat of community transmission of Covid-19 must be integrated into their contingency plans because we don’t want this disease to compound to the problems already being faced by the affected provinces at this time,” Angara said in a statement.
“Alam natin na mahirap ang gagawin sa mga evacuation centers para lang masiguro na hindi kumalat ang Covid-19 sa population. Pero kailangan natin gawin ito dahil ang kalaban natin dito ay invisible at, tulad ng nakita na natin dito sa National Capital Region, sobrang bilis ng pagkalat ng virus at marami nang namatay dahil dito,” he said.
(We know that what must be done in evacuation centers just to ensure that Covid-19 would not be transmitted to the population is difficult. But we need to do this because the enemy is invisible and, like what we have seen in NCR, spreads at a fast rate and many have already died of it.)
In preparing the evacuation centers, Angara said LGUs should heed the call of the Department of Health (DOH) for strict social distancing, wearing face masks, and good personal hygiene practice.
He also said that LGUs whose evacuation sites are already being used as quarantine centers for Covid-19 should look for other facilities that could be used as alternative evacuation sites if possible.
“This is going to be difficult for sure. But what we are after here is saving lives. We don’t want a situation where we have zero casualties from the storm but end up losing the people we love later on due to this deadly virus,” Angara said.
Typhoon Ambo made landfall over San Policarpio, Eastern Samar at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, packing maximum sustained winds of 150 kph with 185 kph gusts.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has also issued an advisory on Mayon Volcano in Albay, warning the residents of the area that heavy rainfall due to Ambo could result in lahar flows.
“The entire nation is praying that Ambo will spare us from severe damages and casualties. We are faced with an extraordinary situation right now with Covid-19, but if we all work together and cooperate, I am certain that we will survive this. We will once again show the world how resilient we are as a people. Mag ingat po tayong lahat (Let’s all keep safe),” Angara said. (ia/PNA)