MANILA -- As Tropical Storm "Jolina" threatens a huge part of the country, especially Northern Luzon, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has placed its Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on "blue alert" Friday.
This is to ensure that personnel from member agencies like DOST-PAGASA, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police ( PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) can render 24/7 duty to ensure immediate coordination.
NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad also instructed the public to stay alert and continue monitoring weather updates and advisories via television, radio, and social media, and heed the advice of local officials.
"Everyone is strongly encouraged to stay at home and postpone any leisure and tourist activities especially in Northern Luzon until the tropical storm has ceased," he said.
As this develops, the NDRRMC has also conducted a Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment Core Group meeting Friday. Jalad presided the meeting attended by representatives from DOST-PAGASA, DILG, DSWD, DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), DOH, PCG, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Transportation (DOTr), the PNP and other stakeholders.
Likewise, DRRM Councils in Regions 1, 2, 3, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) joined the meeting via Skype.
According to PAGASA, Jolina has intensified further with maximum sustained winds of 80kph near the center and gustiness of up to 95kph.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, it was located at 210km southeast of Casiguran, Aurora and projected to move west northwest at 19kph.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 2 is raised in the provinces of Isabela, Northern Aurora, Quirino, Kalinga, Mt Province, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, Abra, La Union and Nueva Vizcaya.
These areas will experience 61-120kph winds in the next 24 hours which may cause light to moderate damage to high-risk structures, and very light to light damage to medium-risk structures.
TCWS No. 1 is hoisted over Cagayan including Babuyan group of islands, Apayao, rest of Aurora, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Northern Quezon including Polillo Island, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur.
Very light or no damage to high-risk structures and light to medium damage to low-risk structures may occur with the forecast of 30-60kph of winds in the next 36 hours.
Jolina is expected to intensify before its landfall over Isabela-Aurora area Friday night. Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected within the 400-km diameter of the tropical storm.
Meanwhile, moderate to occasionally heavy rains are expected over most parts of Luzon.
Binga and Magat Dams shall open gates at 5 p.m. Friday due to continuous rains.
Communities near these dams were already advised of the opening of gates. Residents in landslide and flood-prone areas especially over areas under storm signals 1 and 2 are advised to be vigilant and take the necessary preparedness measures.
Tourism activities such as hiking, trekking, and caving are temporarily suspended in CAR due to the tropical storm.
Further, sea travel is risky over the seaboard of Northern Luzon and eastern seaboards of Central and Southern Luzon.
The NDRRMC through its Regional and Local DRRM Councils is continuously monitoring the weather disturbance as well as other related hazards which may occur due to the tropical storm.
The DILG has directed the LGUs concerned to undertake the necessary preparations as outlined in the Operation L!sto protocols.
Meanwhile, DSWD has ensured the pre-positioning of relief items and equipment in both of its Central and Field Offices.
The National Response Cluster has been activated in anticipation of response and relief assistance for areas likely to be affected.
Source: Philippine News Agency