Local government units (LGUs) will see to it that social distancing is observed in the possible evacuation of vulnerable residents as Typhoon Ambo made landfall in Eastern Visayas on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said local officials must ensure that social distancing on a per-family basis would be observed as they seek temporary shelter in evacuation centers.
“Pagdating sa evacuation centers, kinakailangan (In evacuation centers, there should be) social distancing by family,” Roque said in a virtual presser.
Social distancing refers to maintaining a distance of 1 meter to 3 meters from other people as protection against catching or spreading the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Last March, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to replace the term social distancing with physical distancing.
Roque, meanwhile, assured that the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) “Oplan Listo” would be in full force amid the country’s continued fight against Covid-19.
Oplan Listo protocols are required to be undertaken by local officials before, during, and after any calamity.
“Sang-ayon po sa Oplan Listo, sapat-sapat na po ang ating mga relief goods, handa na po ang ating mga evacuation centers at ipapatupad po ang social distancing on a per-family basis (According to Oplan Listo, we have enough relief foods, our evacuation centers are ready, and social distancing will be observed on a per-family basis),” He said.
Roque noted that since the Philippines sits on a typhoon belt, the national and local governments are used to dealing with such disasters.
“Iyan naman po ay pinaghandaan na ng mga awtoridad at sanay na naman po tayo pagdating sa contingencies dahil po sa mga bagyo (Our authorities are preparing for it and we are used to these contingencies because of typhoons),” he said.
In its 2 p.m. bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (PAGASA) said “Ambo” hit land at exactly 12:15 p.m. and is moving towards the northern portion of Samar province.
The eye or center of the typhoon was located in the vicinity of Oras, Eastern Samar at 1 p.m., PAGASA said.
Heavy to intense rains will be experienced over the Samar provinces, Masbate, Sorsogon, and Catanduanes.
Moderate to heavy with at times intense rains will be experienced over Albay, Camarines Sur, and the rest of Eastern Visayas, it added.
Currently, much of Luzon remain under enhanced community quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which is seen to complicate relief efforts. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)