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Bacolod, 22 other LGUs cancel classes; NegOcc on ‘blue alert’

CLASSES IN Bacolod City and at least 22 other local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental have been canceled on Wednesday as the province went on “blue alert” due to Tropical Storm Falcon.

In the capital city here, Mayor Evelio Leonardia ordered the suspension of classes in pre-school, elementary, and high school levels both in public and private schools, citing Presidential Executive Order 66, after consulting with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has included the whole province of Negros Occidental, including Bacolod, in the yellow rainfall advisory. Communities covered are advised to be aware of the weather condition and warned of possible flooding in low-lying areas.

Leonardia said that as chairman of the City DRRM Council, he is closely monitoring the situation and will make further announcements as needed.

In neighboring Talisay City, classes from pre-school to high school were also suspended as well as in E.B. Magalona town and Sagay City in the north.

The LGUs which cancelled classes in all levels include the cities of San Carlos, Cadiz, Silay, Bago, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, and Sipalay as well as the municipalities of Murcia, Valladolid, Pulupandan, San Enrique, Pontevedra, Hinigaran, Isabela, La Castellana, Moises Padilla, Binalbagan, Ilog, and Hinobaan.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has raised “blue alert” in the Operations Center of the Provincial DRRM Council and “code white” in all district hospitals starting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Lacson said his directive aims to maximize coordination and monitoring as he cited the Regional DRRM Council memorandum order 2019-56 issued by chairperson Jose Roberto Nuñez on Tuesday.

Nuñez directed all local DRRM councils, including those in the barangays in Western Visayas, to place their operations center under “blue alert” for close monitoring and swift coordination with concerned agencies.

Moreover, Lacson advised personnel of district hospitals to ensure preparedness, and all city and municipal DRRM councils to heighten readiness and take appropriate precautionary measures.

The “blue alert” and “code white” will terminate at 8 a.m. of July 19 as soon as “Falcon” is out of the Philippine area of responsibility, the governor said.

Col. Romeo Baleros, police provincial director, directed all station chiefs of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office and commanders of Negros Occidental Provincial Mobile Force Company to check flood-prone and low-lying areas, and shorelines in their respective jurisdictions.

“If necessary, they should conduct forced evacuation, and also coordinate with local DRRM offices. We want zero-casualty,” he added. (By Nanette Guadalquiver)

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