DEFENSE  CHIEF ALERTS CAGAYAN, ISABELA ON TROPICAL DEPRESSION

OFFICE OF THE  PRESS SECRETARY, September 21, 2005
(MALACAŅANG) Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz urged today residents and local officials of Cagayan and Isabela to take all necessary precautions against tropical depression "Labuyo" which is expected to hit the two provinces in a day or two.

Labuyo has already lashed Aurora and Camarines Sur, triggering floods, causing some property damage.

Cruz, who is also the chairman of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said Labuyo has changed direction and is expected to hit Cagayan and Isabela unless it changes path again.

The defense chief, who had a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Malacanang today, said the President has called up Governor Edgar Lara of Cagayan and Governor Grace Cielo Padaca of Isabela to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the tropical depression in their provinces.

He said the tropical depression has spawned heavy rains in Aurora and Camarines Sur and if it maintains its present course and hits Isabela, water from Magat Dam might have to be released.

Cruz said the President also called up Aurora Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo who had sought government assistance because of the flooding in the central part of the province.

He said he has directed the Philippine Navy to send rescue personnel to the flooded areas in Aurora.

The DND official said the President also called up Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur to inquire about the situation in that province which was battered by heavy rains yesterday and today.

At least four barangays in Camarines Sur were heavily flooded owing to the two days of torrential rains.

Cruz said the NDCC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are sending medicines and relief items to the affected areas.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) latest bulletin issued at 11 a.m. today said Labuyo had slightly accelerated and was moving northwest in the direction of Aurora and Isabela.

As of this afternoon, the depression was located 160 kilometers east of Daet, Camarines Norte and moving northwest at 15 kph with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph near the center.

Given its present movement, the PAGASA forecasts Labuyo to be 30 kilometers southeast of Casiguran, Aurora by Wednesday morning, 80 kilometers north of Laoag City on Thursday morning, and 430 kilometers north-northwest of Laoag City by Friday morning.

Publc storm signal No. 1 remains hoisted over the provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Burias Island, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Marinduque, Quezon, Polilio Island, Aurora, Isabela, and Quirino.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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