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Bicol towns, cities suspend classes due to ‘Agaton’

OCD-Bicol office in Legazpi City, Albay province (PNA file photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – Several local government units (LGUs) in Bicol suspended classes on Monday as Tropical Storm Agaton dumped heavy rains across the region, the Office of Civil Defense-Bicol (OCD-5) reported.

Among the areas covered by suspension were Legazpi City, Ligao City, Daraga, Camalig, Guinobatan, Libon and Sto. Domingo, all in Albay province.

In Masbate province, the towns of Mobo and Cataingan also canceled classes.

The same directive was issued in the towns of Barcelona, Bulusan, Gubat, Castilla, Casiguran, Donsol, Magallanes, Sta. Magdalena and Pilar, all in Sorsogon province.

Gremil Alexis Naz, OCD-5 spokesperson, said in an interview the red alert status that was declared by the OCD on Friday is being maintained to ensure the highest level of coordination and monitoring.

“The southern portion of Masbate including Dimasalang, Palanas, Cataingan, Pio V. Corpuz, Esperanza, Placer and Cawayan are under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 1,” he noted.

Mayor Noel Rosal of this city said in an advisory the suspension of classes was prompted by heavy rains brought by “Agaton” which may cause flooding, especially in high-risk areas.

“The City Disaster and Climate Change Resilience Council advised all barangays to take preventive measures in low-lying areas, riverine areas, prone to floods, and rain-induced landslides,” Rosal said.

The advisory added that no sailing and no river crossing in swollen rivers and artificial pools of water is allowed.

Rosal ensured that they are continuously monitoring the weather updates and thunderstorm advisories coming from the Southern Luzon PAGASA Regional Services Division (SLPRSD) of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

He added that the City Disaster and Climate Change Resilience Council and Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council were advised to be on alert.

In Ligao City, aside from the suspension of classes, the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) also coordinates with the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (BDRRM) committees for the extensive monitoring and implementation of safety measures.

“Barangay DRRM committees located in low-lying areas, flood-prone, and rain-induced landslide-prone are advised to be alert and continuously monitor the weather updates from the DOST (Department of Science and Technology)-PAGASA,” the advisory read.

The LGU also encouraged the public to coordinate with the BDRRMC and CDRRM Operation Center Hotlines (0995-400-4711) for any incident or emergency related to the weather disturbance.

According to the flood advisory released by PAGASA Monday morning, provinces in the Bicol Region will experience moderate to heavy rains which may cause flooding and rain-induced landslides in high-risk areas. (With reports from Bernadine Carretas and Eliakim Neric/PNA-OJTs)

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