NDRRMC: Technical issues prompt wrong typhoon signal messages

Marje Pelayo   •   December 25, 2019   •   200

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) clarified issues involving a wrong text message that circulated through short messaging system (SMS) which advised the wrong cyclone wind signal on the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula.

While several parts of Luzon and Visayas braced for the typhoon on Tuesday (December 24), residents in Metro Manila received an emergency alert message from NDRRMC saying that the Metropolis was placed under tropical cyclone wind signal #2.

But state weather agency PAGASA in its weather bulletin announced that Metro Manila was placed under Signal #1 throughout the day.

The said message prompted twice in Metro Manila residents’ mobile phones which caused confusion while the country was monitoring the situation especially in typhoon-affected areas.

According to NDRRMC, such wrongful message was a result of a technical issue in the distribution system of telecommunication companies.

“Dapat ang makatanggap lang po ay (Supposedly, the message was only for residents of) areas under signal number 2,” explained NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal.

“Dahil po doon sa technical issue na na-encounter na yun, pati areas na signal number 1 ay nakatanggap din ng messages, (But because of the technical issue that [the telcos encountered], even residents in areas under signal #1 received the message),” he added.

Timbal argued that possibly the typhoon affected the telcos’ signal towers which affected the transmission of the advisory to the cellphone users.

“Ang pinag babatayan kasi niyan iyong mga signal towers. Siguro hindi naging available ang mga signal towers doon sa particular area kaya ang nangyari ay nag alternative signal towers, (The transmission also depends on the signal towers. Perhaps, the signal towers for that particular area were not available that time so what happened was, the message searched for alternative signal towers),” Timbal said.

“Kaya ang signal towers na nakakasakop din sa Manila ay nakatanggap din ng message, (So even the signal towers intended for Manila also received the message),” he added.

Though it is true that the NDRRMC formulates the alert messages for specific locations, it is the telcos that transmit the messages to the intended receivers.

Under the law, the alert messages are sent free of charge and the transmission is the responsibility of the telcos.

The NDRRMC, nevertheless, assured that they are in close coordination with the telcos so as to prevent a repeat of such error in the future. – MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

Residents, NGOs urged not to violate ‘off-limits’ order on Taal’s danger zone

Marje Pelayo   •   January 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Several residents are risking their lives to salvage their belongings and animals despite the dangers of returning to Taal volcano island.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reiterated that going inside the 14-kilometer permanent danger zone in the volcano island is illegal and highly dangerous because Taal Volcano may erupt anytime.

Kung ni-rescue man po nila, mabuti at nagpapasalamat po tayo na ganun na nabuhay po ang mga alaga nila (It’s good and we appreciate that they were able to rescue their animals alive),” NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal said.

Pero ang ikinakakaba po naming ay iyong kanilang pagbalik. Kasi they violated an ‘off-limits’ arrangement natin at saka ‘yung mandatory evacuation order for that particular area (But what we are concerned about is their journey back to the safe zone. They are violating our ‘off-limits’ arrangement and the mandatory evacuation order for that particular area),” he added.

Several images and videos were uploaded on social media showing residents ferrying their livestock to the shore.

Also, several members of animal welfare teams were reportedly caught stranded on the island.

According to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), the three members of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), were already rescued to safety.

“Kaninang umaga, tumawag kasi sila na medyo na-stranded nga daw sila. So, they asked for help to contact ang Coast Guard na mabilis naman pong umaksyon. Nakuha naman po sila (They called this morning asking for help to contact the Coast Guard because they were stranded. The Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue operation and they were brought to safety),” explained PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera.

The NDRRMC said residents and NGOs should coordinate first with them before they venture to the danger zone to discuss proper rescue procedures in rescuing the animals.

Maganda po ang intensyon nila, pero (Their intention is good but) what we are worried about is, what if something bad happens and they are within the 14-kilometer danger zone,” Timbal said.

Hindi po natin maga-guarantee ang safety ng mga taong ito (We cannot guarantee the safety of these people),” he added. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

NDRRMC: Over 50,000 people affected by Taal eruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2020

The number of people affected by the Taal eruption has already reached over 50,000 according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

In their 6:00 am report on January 15, the NDRRMC recorded a total of 53,019 persons or 12,486 families in Batangas and Cavite that were affected by the Taal eruption.

Around 10,000 of these families or over 43,000 persons are currently taking shelter in 217 evacuation centers.

READ: Intense earthquakes in Taal indicate possible ‘explosive eruption’ — PHIVOLCS

The NDRRMC has also recorded 466 volcanic earthquakes. Cracks can already be seen in houses and roads in Batangas due to the volcanic earthquakes.—AAC

Wife of missing fisherman in Occ. Mindoro calls for help from LGU

Marje Pelayo   •   January 3, 2020

Alvin Bantugan

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are still looking for Alvin Bantugan, a crew of F/B Gemver 1, more than a week after the onset of Typhoon Ursula in Occidental Mindoro.

According to his wife Hazel, he was looking after their motor banca when large waves came ashore and washed him away along with the sea vessel.

“Kalmang kalma iyon, tapos biglang dalawang bugso (The sea was calm that day. Suddenly, the waves went wild),” she said.

“Doon po siya naanod, sa unahan daw po siya ng bangkang GemVer 1. Bigla na lang po iyong tumaob. Bukod tangi po siyang hindi nakikita sa mga tauhan, (That’s when he was washed away. The motor banca turned upside down over him. He was the only one left missing),” she added.

Aside from his missing husband, Hazel is also worried because no one would help her repair the damages caused by the typhoon to their house.

“Sana po matulungan ni Mayor kami na makita ang aking asawa, (I pray that our Mayor can help us search for my husband),” she asked.

“At matulungan niya ako dahil sira pa rin po ang aking bahay (I also ask for help in the repair my house,)” she added.

F/B Gemver 1 was the same sea vessel involved in the controversial maritime incident with a Chinese vessel in West Philippine Sea last year.

It took five months to repair the vessel’s damage before it was able to venture out again at sea. – MNP (with reports from Von San Pedro)

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