Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

As the country braces for Tropical Storm (TS) “Odette”, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday reminded the public to cooperate with national and local authorities should there be a need for evacuation or other necessary actions.

(Photo Courtesy: PNA)

The storm is expected to affect Central Visayas within the week, according to the  Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

In a prerecorded Talk to the People, Duterte directed government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to ensure that Filipinos, especially those who are on or near the tropical depression’s projected path, to keep monitoring the situation and conduct all necessary preparations and precautions.

“It’s all there. The areas where it will pass, it’s all in the news—newspaper and TV. All you have to do is to watch TV and and you will see the outlook of the storm,” he said partly in Filipino.

He also called on the public to comply with advisories issued by PAGASA.

“So if you are near the affected areas, temporarily evacuate), especially if the PAGASA, the weather bureau would say evacuate because it will hit the area,” he added partly in Filipino.

Earlier, Malacañang said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is making the necessary preparations in coordination with the regional and local disaster risk reduction and management councils to ensure the safety of the public.

As of Sunday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has available stockpiles and standby funds earmarked for disaster response.

Based on the 11 p.m. weather bulletin Monday, PAGASA said the center of Tropical Storm Rai was estimated at 1,585 kilometers east of Mindanao and still outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

The weather bureau said once inside PAR, the tropical cyclone will be named “Odette” as it maintains its strength while moving west northwestward towards Palau with maximum sustained winds of 65 km per hour near the center and gustiness up to 80 kph.

It is forecast to reach typhoon category on Wednesday and may make landfall in the vicinity of Caraga and Eastern Visayas by Thursday afternoon or evening.

Postponing vaccination days

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III proposed the postponement of the second simultaneous vaccine drive against Covid-19 in areas that are expected to be affected by the tropical depression.

“Mr. President, Secretary Vince Dizon, Galvez and Ed Año agreed to recommend postponing the National Vaccination Part 2 amid the approaching tropical storm,” Duque said in Filipino.

Instead of holding the Bayanihan, Bakunahan Vaccination Days on Dec. 15-17, Duque said they recommended moving it to Dec. 20 to 22 in affected areas.

He said Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and Northern Luzon can proceed with the original vaccination days on Dec. 15-17.

The first Bayanihan, Bakunahan event lasted for five days from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, administering over 10.2 million doses of vaccine.

The second Bayanihan, Bakunahan round aims to surpass the national government’s target of fully vaccinating 54 million Filipinos by yearend. 

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