President Aquino on Monday afternoon made a last-minute appeal to residents in Visayas and Mindanao to heed the warnings by local government units to evacuate, saying Typhoon “Pablo” was no “laughing matter.”
“I hope that we don’t give our search and rescue teams problems. If our LGUs advise us in the danger areas to evacuate, we should follow this immediately and not wait for the third, fourth or fifth time that they come to us before we move to more secure grounds,” the President said in a nationally televised address.
“I repeat: I’m facing you now because the incoming storm is no laughing matter,” he added, pointing out that the typhoon was packing strong gusts of winds and threatening to dump a large volume of water. “The government is ready. We expect the cooperation of everyone so that nobody gets in harm’s way.”
The President said the Department of the Interior and Local Government had ordered local authorities in the areas in the path of the typhoon to evacuate residents ahead of its landfall.
Mr. Aquino also appealed to operators of colorum bancas against setting out to sea, repeating an order issued by the Philippine Coast Guard.
The President said all government agencies were on alert for the most powerful storm to hit the archipelago this year.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has gone on red alert, he said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has “prepositioned” some P42.2 million in food packs and relief goods and standby fund, he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed search and rescue vehicles, while the Philippine National Police was prepared to help in evacuation efforts, Mr. Aquino said.
The Department of Public Works and Highways has sent heavy equipment in areas likely to be hit by the storm, he added.
“I talked with some congressmen and they told me that some of their constituents doubted that the storm would blow their way because it was very sunny in their areas. Well, the storm has a very wide diameter, about 600 kilometers … I hope we take all this seriously,” he said.
“We can’t stop its entry, but we can minimize the damage it would wreak on life and property if we help and cooperate with one another.”