Lingayen – Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. has expressed dismay over the lowering of Public Storm Warning Signal (PSWS) in Pangasinan to signal #1 by PAGASA as early as 11am on Monday, October 19, when in fact typhoon Lando still pummels Pangasinan with strong winds as if signal #3 remains hoisted over the province late afternoon on the same day.
The sentiment of Governor Espino was shared by most Pangasinenses who were one in saying that the strength of the typhoon on Monday was actually stronger than yesterday.
Earlier, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Chief Rhodyn Luchinvar Oro inquired via text message to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region 1 how come PAGASA has lowered the PSWS signal in Pangasinan.
Col. Oro said that when PAGASA lowered PSWS in Pangasinan, the typhoon was still wreaking havoc by causing flash floods, toppling electrical posts, uprooting trees and even blowing away roofings of houses that rendered some major roads of the province not passable.
In an interview with local media, Governor Espino advised Pangasinenses to be watchful of their safety as the center of Typhoon Lando, which is almost stationary over Northern Luzon, brings unpredictable strong winds and rains in Pangasinan that may cause flash floods and landslides.
The provincial chief executive reiterated that during the onslaught of the typhoon, families must stay in their houses and undertake safety measures.
Earlier today, hundreds of residents in barangays located along the mountain slopes of Labrador, Bugallin, Aguilar, Mangatarem and Mabini who sought rescue due to flash floods have been transferred safely to evacuation centers today and were given immediate relief efforts right after. Rescue operations will resume tomorrow in other areas affected by the typhoon.
As of 5pm on Monday, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) reported a total of 573 families (7, 039 persons) evacuated in 11 towns namely: Anda (78 persons), Binmaley (72 persons), Bolinao (958 persons), Infanta (17 persons), Mabini (4, 520), Bugallon (38 persons), Lingayen (808 persons), San Fabian (382 persons), Sual (81), Manaoag (67 persons) and San Nicolas (18 persons).
Governor Espino has also declared the cancellation and suspension of classes in all levels in Pangasinan tomorrow, October 20.
Work in government and private offices, however are left to the discretion of their respective administrators, the public advisory stated.
In the meantime, the San Roque Dam started releasing dam waters from its reservoir at 6pm. A spillway gate with .50-meter opening discharges 340 cubic meters per second (cms). Water elevation of San Roque dam is 279.74 meters above sea level (masl) or just .26 meter below its 280masl spilling level.
/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca