Tropical Storm “Ofel” has generally spared Metro Cebu from its wrath, but classes in all levels were suspended Thursday while close to a thousand passengers were stranded at the Cebu port after Coast Guard officials barred at least 51 vessels from sailing.
Intermittent rains were experienced all over Cebu Wednesday and Thursday morning, but there were no strong winds in Metro Cebu.
Cebu City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) recommended the suspension of classes in all levels in both public and private schools in the city in a meeting on Wednesday.
LDRRMC operation officer Alvin Santillana said the no-class policy will apply only for Thursday, but may be extended depending on the weather.
Commander Rolando Punzalan of the Cebu Coast Guard said they barred at least 51 vessels from sailing under a policy that no clearance to sail will be given to vessels when the port of departure, the route and the destination are within the path of a storm.
“We listed a total of 370 passengers that were stranded in the port of Cebu since they opted to wait there, but others decided to go to their relatives and wait for further notice,” said Punzalan.
The LDRRMC directed the Cebu City Government’s Department of Public Services (DPS) to make its dump trucks available in case of evacuation and for the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) to prepare their heavy equipment in case of landslides in mountain barangays.
Engr. Apollo Dante of DEPW said their heavy equipment, which include a pay loader, backhoe, grader, and bulldozer, were stationed in Barangay Taptap, a centrally located mountain barangay.
“We stationed the equipment there so we can quickly respond in case of a landslide,” he said.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said they have also prepared for Ofel.
BFP said all their fire trucks are standing by, while the CCPO said eight to five people in each of the 11 police stations of the city are ready to respond to emergencies.