SURIGAO CITY(MindaNews/11 November)—Classes in pre-school and elementary levels and boat trips were suspended Monday afternoon in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat provinces as tropical depression “Zoraida” moves closer to northeastern Mindanao, officials said.
City Mayor Ernesto Matugas declared the suspension of classes after the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hoisted storm signal number 1 over 10 provinces in Mindanao, five of them in the Caraga region.
Caraga comprises the provinces of Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
The other provinces placed under storm signal number 1 were Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Camiguin.
Compostela Valley was not listed by PAGASA but its omission is apparently an oversight. Even Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy thinks his province was inadvertently omitted from the list. Compostela Valley shares boundaries with Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
Tropical depression Zoraida was spotted 830 km Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao Del Sur, as of 10 a.m. Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and moving 30 kph west northwest, according to PAGASA’s Weather Bulletin 2 issued at 11 a.m. Monday.
Zoraida is expected to be at 160 km East Southeast of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur by tomorrow (Tuesday) morning and in the vicinity of Cuyo or 130 km West of Iloilo City by Wednesday morning. By Thursday morning, it is expected to be at 650 km West of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, the weather bureau said.
Moderate to light rains have been pouring in this city since Sunday night.
Zenmond Duque, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard station here, said they implemented a “no sail policy” for all types of sea vessels starting Monday noon.
“I am appealing to the public, especially to the vessel owners and operators, to cooperate to avoid any untoward incident,” he said.
This resulted to the stranding of hundreds of passengers at the ports here and in Lipata.
Danilo Sabial, a staff of Maharlika Shipping Lines, said passengers of five buses from Davao bound for the Visayas and Luzon were stranded at the port of Lipata.
In Dinagat, Rosario Roxas, of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said classes in the pre-school and elementary levels were suspended early Monday morning.
In just a span of a week, classes have been suspended three times due to tropical depression ‘Wilma,’ super typhoon Yolanda and now Zoraida, she said.
Roxas said that boat trips from Dinagat to Surigao and vice-versa were also cancelled Monday. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)