MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) remains on heightened alert to provide immediate assistance to residents who may be affected by the possible onslaught of Typhoon Kiko (international name: Chanthu).
In a statement, the PCG said it has coordinated with local government units and disaster management offices in areas that are on the direct path of ‘Kiko’.
In the 11 a.m. bulletin, the state weather bureau said ‘Kiko’ has slightly intensified as it continues to creep closer to extreme northern Luzon.
The typhoon was last spotted at 220 kilometers northeast of Casiguran, Aurora or east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, and gustiness of up to 240 kph.
Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 3 is hoisted over the extreme northeastern portion of Cagayan and the eastern part of Babuyan Islands.
TCWS No. 2 is raised over Batanes, the rest of Babuyan Islands, the remaining eastern portion of mainland Cagayan, the northeastern portion of Isabela, and the northeastern part of Apayao.
Meanwhile, TCWS No. 1 is up over the rest of mainland Cagayan, the eastern portion of Ilocos Norte, the rest of Apayao, the northern portion of Kalinga, eastern pat of Mountain Province, the northeastern portion of Abra, the northwestern and southeastern portions of Isabela and the northern portion of Aurora.
PCG commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya has directed the PCG District Northeastern Luzon and Northwestern Luzon to ensure that their deployable response groups and quick response teams are all-set for swift evacuation and rescue operations, most especially in flood-prone residential communities in Batanes, Cagayan, and Northern Isabela.
“We learned so much during our operations amid Typhoon Ulysses last year that left major damages in the Cagayan Valley region. Aside from training our people and increasing our assets, we also partnered with LGUs so that even ordinary citizens are equipped with basic skills in ensuring the safety of lives in times of natural calamities and emergencies,” Laroya said.
“The PCG cannot do it on its own. We need the support of our stakeholders and the general public to lessen, if not prevent, the loss of lives during typhoon season,” he added.
Major commands at the PCG National Headquarters have also been instructed to prepare their assets and preposition their teams to immediately assist districts that may need augmentation.
PCG personnel of concerned Coast Guard districts have also reminded fishermen and other mariners to avoid venturing the sea during inclement weather conditions for their safety.
This is following reports of distressed fishermen in the Western and Eastern Visayas regions after residents went on fishing ventures despite the suspension due to Tropical Storm Jolina.
“Nauunawaan natin ang ating mga kababayan na sinusuong ang sama ng panahon para may makain ang kanilang pamilya,” Laroya said.
“Pero, hiling po namin ay iprayoridad ng ating mga mangingisda ang kanilang kaligtasan dahil sa oras na may kapahamakang mangyari sa kanila sa gitna ng dagat, ay lalong hihirap ang sitwasyon ng maiiwan nilang pamilya,” he added.
The PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) has also been alerted to prepare for relief operations and other humanitarian missions in areas that will be most affected by the typhoon, the agency said.
Typhoon Kiko is seen to bring heavy to intense rains in parts of Cagayan, Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora and Cagayan Valley which may trigger flooding and landslides in areas susceptible to these hazards.