Aquino monitoring Typhoon Pedring

Posted at 09/27/11 3:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino said he was closely monitoring Typhoon Pedring and ordered concerned government agencies to coordinate mitigation efforts in hard-hit areas in northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

"I have been in touch with Secretaries Soliman, Gazmin, and Almendras. I have instructed the Executive Secretary to compile information from NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) and to inform our people of conditions as well as of government efforts to mitigate the effects of the storm," he said in a statement.

Pedring hit the northeastern side of Luzon before dawn Tuesday, bringing maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour and gusts clocking in at 170 kilometers an hour.

But state weather bureau PAGASA said the typhoon weakened after crossing the rugged terrain of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Aquino said he had been informed of the preventive evacuation of families in Camarines Sur and Albay as well as the voluntary evacuation in Marikina.

He added that power was already being restored in several areas within Manila Electric Co.'s franchise after some lines tripped due to high winds.

"I am in constant touch with the members of my cabinet and the Executive Secretary has been instructed to keep me and the public informed of conditions pertaining as well as mitigation efforts," the President reiterated.

Earlier, the NDRRMC reported that a baby was killed after falling into a swollen river in the eastern province of Catanduanes on Tuesday, while 4 other people were missing.

In Valenzuela, 4 people also died when they were pinned under a collapsed wall at the height of Pedring's onslaught.

In Manila, where more than 12 million people reside, roads were impassable due to flooding and falling debris.

Malacañang announced the suspension of all school classes and work for government agencies in Manila and other affected areas, while dozens of domestic flights in and out of the capital were cancelled.

In Isabela, where Pedring made landfall, some 1,400 people were relocated to 17 evacuation centers to escape flooding in coastal towns.

PAGASA projected Pedring to move along the western coast of La Union by 4 p.m. today and exit the Philippine area of responsibility by noon Wednesday.

Storm signals remained hoisted over northern Luzon provinces and the capital.

Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Benguet, La Union, Nueva Viscaya, and Pangasinan were under signal no. 3.

Apayao, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, Bataan and Metro Manila were under signal no. 2.

Signal no. 1 was raised over Babuyan, Calayan group of Islands, Northern Quezon, Polillo Island, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Lubang Island and Cavite.