Luzon feels ‘habagat’ winds; Metro Manila at moderate risk for flooding
Typhoon “Betty” has slightly weakened and was moving west-northwestward over the Philippine Sea east of Northern Luzon, even as Metro Manila was on “Bravo alert” for the storm’s possible effects and 12 provinces remained under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 1 on Sunday.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) also revealed yesterday that over 400 barangays in the National Capital Region are at risk of floods due to the expected combined effects of Betty (international name: Mawar) and the southwest monsoon or “habagat.”
The center of the typhoon, the country’s second this year, was estimated at 630 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan as of 5 p.m. Sunday.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 165 km/hour near the center and gustiness of up to 295 km/h, it was moving west-northwestward at 15 km/h.
TCWS no. 1 was raised in Batanes, Cagayan including Babuyan Islands, Isabela, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, the northern and central portions of Abra, Kalinga, the eastern and central portions of Mt. Province, the northern and central portions of Aurora, Quirino, and the northeastern portion of Nueva Vizcaya.
The enhanced southwest monsoon may bring occasional gusts reaching a strong breeze to near gale strength Monday over most of the Visayas, the eastern portion of Central Luzon, the eastern and southern portion of Southern Luzon, and the northern portion of Mindanao.
The western portion of Luzon may also experience similar conditions beginning on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Betty will likely remain a typhoon throughout the forecast period, although it is expected to gradually weaken until Tuesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.
“Afterwards, an increasingly unfavorable environment while moving northward or north-northeastward on Wednesday or Thursday will result in a faster weakening rate,” it added.
MMDA Acting Chairman Don Artes said the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has already placed NCR on Bravo alert, meaning the region is at moderate risk due to Betty.
A recent report released by the MMDA also shows that 423 barangays in Metro Manila are at risk of floods: 124 in Caloocan City, 110 in Quezon City, 109 in Manila City, 32 in Valenzuela City, 14 in Malabon City, 13 in Navotas City, and one in Pasig City.
This comes as data from PAGASA and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that 50-millimeter rains are expected in the next 24 hours.
“The rains will be quite strong, but this will be scattered within the 24-hour period. It will not be sudden, but it will still be a lot…
There is a possibility that they would be submerged or flooded,” Artes said in a GMA TV report.
“This typhoon, even if it veers away or does not make landfall in the country, will pull the habagat wind which will really cause rains and floods,” he added.
For its part, the Metro Manila Council President and San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said local government units are prepared, with rescue equipment already prepositioned in case of floods.
The MMDA has already coordinated with the Manila mayors since Saturday night and discussed their preparations. According to Artes, the agency has already readied the 71 pumping stations in Metro Manila should there be heavy rains.
Typhoon preparations are still on standby, according to Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office Assistant Communication Officer Rommel Allada.
In Las Piñas, the DRRMO is bracing for possible heavy rains as the southwest monsoon might be enhanced by Betty. The city has already activated its search and rescue team, adding rescue boats, trucks, and modular tents are prepositioned should evacuation be implemented.
Some areas in the nine villages of Las Piñas facing the coastal areas are at risk for flooding, it added.
In a related development, Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco ordered the removal of a specific brand of canned tuna from family food packs ahead of the expected impact of Betty, citing earlier complaints about the product from Mindoro Island recipients.
Cayco said the specific canned tuna—set to expire in 2025—was ordered to be removed from the packs of the Department of Welfare and Development (DSWD) by the national government and are set to be replaced by another brand.
“We were tasked by the national [government] to remove this because of the issue in Mindoro. The issue there was that they were said to be rotten, pungent, salty, and fishy… These will be replaced with a new and different brand, but the problem is that the replacements have yet to arrive as no ships can sail here,” the governor added in a 24 Oras report.
Betty may be downgraded to a severe tropical storm category on Thursday when it is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility toward Taiwan and Japan.
“The typhoon will likely become slow-moving to almost stationary by Tuesday while over the waters east of Batanes. It will then move northward or north-northeastward by mid Wednesday towards the sea east of Taiwan,” PAGASA also said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross said it is ready to deploy itsfood trucks and other assets in areas affected by the typhoon.
As Betty approaches the extreme northern part of the country, PRC chairman Richard Gordon assured the public that Red Cross chapters in the typhoon’s path are ready to respond with food trucks, along with other disaster response equipment, such as amphibians, rescue boats, ambulance units, 6×6 trucks, payloaders, and water tankers.
PRC also said two of its water tankers have been positioned in Nueva Vizcaya and Olongapo, along with relief items, food packs, sleeping packs, and water containers.
Several local government units (LGUs) suspended classes on Monday, May 29, because of Betty.
Apayao and Cagayan provinces suspended in-person and online classes for all levels in public and private schools.
In Ifugao, the municipality of Alfonso Lista suspended classes from Kinder to Grade 12, including alternative learning systems, in public and private schools.
In Ilocos Norte, the municipality of Solsona suspended classes at all levels in public and private schools.
The entire province of Ilocos Sur suspended all classes in all levels in public and private schools.
In La Union, the municipality of Luna suspended classes in all levels in public and private schools.
The Army’s 5th Infantry Division mustered its disaster response team and deployed troops in its area of operation in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, and the Ilocos Region.
5ID Commander Maj. Gen. Audrey L. Pasia said they would position water filtration units in key areas of Cagayan Valley.
Meanwhile, army men joined the multi-agency meeting of the Cagayan Provincial Incident Management Team to discuss plans for prompt and responsive humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts in the province.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) activated its emergency preparedness and response protocols across the country.
“We continue to coordinate with different agencies on preparations forSuper Typhoon ‘Betty.’ This is to ensure that all necessary measures are in place from the national down to the local level,” Civil Defense Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno said in a statement.
“We have already identified and activated appropriate emergency preparedness and response protocols in different regions to be affected by the weather disturbance,” he added.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,679 teams from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Philippine Coast Guard are on the watch for search, rescue, and retrieval operations.
The Office of Civil Defense and the Department of Social Welfare andDevelopment said that they have P2.2 billion worth of stockpile standby funds and P256.2 million worth of Quick Response Fund to be used for aid to victims of the typhoon.
In Cagayan Valley, the Cagayan Valley Regional Disaster Risk Reductionand Management Council advised LGUs to start pre-emptive evacuation, especially in the areas affected by floods and landslides.
The local government of Manila has raised the blue alert status in preparation for the possible effects of super typhoon Betty.
Blue alert status means that all the equipment needed in rescue operations is prepared with situational reports being provided every six hours.
Rommel Allada, the assistant communication officer of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), said they arenow operating for 24 hours, and the personnel’s rest days have been canceled.
Rescue equipment and personnel are also on standby.
In Marikina City, preparations for Betty started Thursday and theevacuation centers are now open. Rescue boats are already on standby.
About 20,000 Marikina residents usually evacuate due to flooding.
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Sunday announced the suspension of several trips, due to bad weather brought about by Betty.