BACOLOD CITY – Classes have been canceled Wednesday in this provincial capital and almost all the 31 provinces in Negros Occidental due to heavy rains brought by the low pressure area or shearline affecting the eastern areas of southern Luzon and the Visayas.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez said all classes in the elementary and high school levels here were suspended following incessant rains across the city.
"Be cautious and be safe. There's a possibility of flooding especially in high-risk areas," he added.
Before noon on Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hoisted the Orange Warning Level in Negros Occidental, which means "flooding is threatening in low-lying areas, and landslides in mountainous areas".
The rest of the cities and municipalities declared the suspension of classes either in all levels or only in elementary and high school levels.
Those that canceled classes are the cities of Talisay, Silay, Victorias, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, San Carlos, Bago, La Carlota, Himamaylan and Kabankalan as well as the municipalities of Murcia, E.B. Magalona, Calatrava, Don Salvador Benedicto, Manapla, Pulupandan, Valladolid, San Enrique, Pontevedra, La Castellana, Isabela, Moises Padilla, Hinigaran, Binalbagan, Ilog, Candoni and Cauayan.
Zeaphard Caelian, head of the Provincial Disaster Management Program Division, said Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has directed all disaster risk reduction and management councils in all local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental to heighten preparedness by adopting the "blue alert" status.
"Those staying in low-lying areas are encouraged to initiate preemptive evacuation, if necessary," he added.
Caelian said “blue alert” means the operation centers must be on standby and prepared to respond to any incident.
"There are now rivers with strong water current. We are monitoring all the LGUs," he said.
In the north, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that M/V Lite Ferry 2 canceled its 5 a.m. trip from San Carlos City in to Toledo City in Cebu province due to "rough weather condition". (PNA)