CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews/19 December) — At least 2,000 passengers were stranded at the port terminal here on Friday after the Philippine Coast Guard grounded all interisland ferry ships because of tropical depression “Onyok.”
Onyok made landfall over Caraga and Manay towns in Davao Oriental at 10:30 p.m. Friday but weakened into a low pressure area (LPA).
Edna Moral , a passenger from Davao City said she and two other elderly companions had to sleep at the port terminal Friday night after the Philippine Coast Guard grounded M/V Transasia 8 that would have taken them to Tagbilaran, Bohol.
Moral said they were considering returning to Davao early Saturday because the next ferry scheduled for Tagbilaran is on Monday.
“Our money will not last until Monday. We will sleep here at the terminal and will go back home tomorrow morning,” she said.
The Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported that 18 families or 66 persons sought shelter in designated evacuation sites ahead of tropical depression “ Onyok.”
Abigail Cheekee Malalis of the City Information Office said as of 9 p.m. Friday, said the local disaster management committee was expecting more than 75,461 person livings in 42 flood-prone barangays to be evacuated if the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) would raise the public storm warning.
As of 5 pm. Friday, Signal Number 1 was raised over 17 of 27 Mindanao provinces but this was lifted when Onyok made landfall and weakened into an LPA.
Edwin Dael, chief of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office said they are closely watching Iponan River where abandoned mining sites posed serious risks in soil liquefaction.
“We have posted several monitoring posts along the river just in case,” Dael said.
The CDRRMC raised it own “orange alert” and issued a warning for voluntary preemptive evacuation for vulnerable sectors like the elderly and children.
Meanwhile, the Army’s 4th Infantry Division has deployed several units of bulldozers and rescue teams in case the situation worsens.
Capt. Patrick Martinez, 4th ID spokesperson said the units will be station in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)