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PIA Press Release

Leyte gov stresses PDCC readiness for disasters

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (21 November) -- It must be instinct, being practical, or pure common sense that should move each and every member of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) in times when continuous rains for days keep pouring anywhere in the province.

This was the main point Gov. Damian Mercado repeatedly emphasized during the very first PDCC meeting under his leadership yesterday at the RK Kangleoan Function House, barangay Mambajao, this city.

"We do not know what will come, so if it is already raining for several hours, go to any station where you belong for a 24-hour access and quick response to any expected emergencies," Gov. Mercado told the PDCC body, which consisted mostly with heads of provincial offices, selected national line agencies, the Police, the military, and some private individuals representing non-government organizations (NGOs).

The Governor's direct call came right a day after tropical depression "Lando" lashed out sudden strong winds at noon yesterday, November 19, throughout the city and the neighboring areas that lasted about 30 minutes, sending branches of trees -- or the trees themselves -- falling to the ground.

The provincial government declared a half-day work yesterday to allow employees to go home early, even as the winds' gustiness was at its peak.

Since last week, PAG-ASA maintained its forecast of a shallow low pressure area (LPA) east of Northern Mindanao until about 11:00 in the morning yesterday, when the inclement weather intensified into a tropical depression codenamed "Lando" as it crossed the Visayas.

No immediate report on damages was available today, other than the houses along the city's coasts which were destroyed. But a pilgrim from Baybay, on the way home from barangayd Hanginan, was reportedly hit by a fallen tree and died. No details were available as this report was written, especially since PIA lost its telephone dial tone.

Electric power was off the whole afternoon and evening yesterday, although this morning power was back but some areas in the city and the province still experienced brownout

Even as he urged constant readiness during bad weather at the PDCC meeting, Gov. Mercado informed everyone that he himself, along with Vice-Gov. Mike Maamo, had made some steps as the non-stop, intermittent rains went on for days.

He said he had signed a MOA with the NFA to immediately retrieve sacks of rice when needed at evacuation sites, had called on the Doctors at the hospitals and health centers to be on standby, and readied some transportation facilities at the Provincial Engineers' Office (PEO) to be dispatched anywhere.

All the other PDCC members must also be on call, he further said. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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