THE government’s readiness to respond to Typhoon Ompong that is expected to hit the country this Saturday will be at its highest level, Malacañang said yesterday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. stressed that all agencies tasked to handle the government’s disaster response initiatives are already on red alert in anticipation of the impact of Ompong.
“Naka-red alert na po ang National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) at naka-activate na rin ang kanilang Response Cluster,” Roque said during his regular Palace press briefing.
The Cabinet official announced that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself decided to hold a Command Conference at the NDRRMC yesterday to ensure the government’s preparedness.
“We’re prepared, and to make sure that we’re 100 percent prepared, the President decided to have that Command Conference in the NDRRMC premises this afternoon,” he said.
Initially, the President was supposed to oversee the test firing of the Spike Extended Range missile from the BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) in Limay, Bataan but the event was called off due to the bad weather.
“Ompong” is expected to make landfall in northern Cagayan province or the Batanes Group of Islands on Saturday, but it will bring stormy weather to most of Luzon as early as Friday, the state weather bureau noted.
Earlier, Malacañang urged the public to remain alert as “Ompong” nears the country.
“Pinapaalalahanan po namin ang publiko na maging alerto at ligtas sa paparating na bagyo,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.
Meanwhile, Roque said the reporting systems of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have also been activated to monitor local government units’ pre-emptive evacuation efforts.
He added that P1.7 billion worth of food packs and other relief assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are now on standby and ready for distribution among areas expected to be hit by the typhoon.
“Kasabay po nito ay ang paghahanda po ng Department of Health (DoH) ng mga kakailanganing mga gamot, medical supplies, at pag-de-deploy ng medical teams na nakahandang rumesponde,” Roque further said.
NDRRMC’s Logistics Cluster, headed by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), likewise assured that all land, air, and sea assets are ready for possible deployments of additional rescue teams and supplies.
“May mga Quick Response Teams na rin po tayo na naka-deploy sa probinsya ng Batanes at nakapag-establish na rin po sila ng mga alternatibong communication devices para tiyakin na bukas pa rin ang mga linya ng komunikasyon sa pagtama ng bagyong Ompong,” Roque noted, adding that Quick Response Teams and Health Emergency Response Teams are already on standby in key areas.
Furthermore, the Palace official reiterated the Department of Agriculture’s call enjoining Filipino farmers to harvest at an earlier time to save their crops. In addition, he reminded the entire nation to remain alert to ensure their safety during the typhoon.
“Muli po, pinapaalalahanan ang publiko na maging alerto at ligtas… We have to be ready, better to be prepared than sorry,” Roque stated.