Negros Occidental sea trips suspended; northern towns on alert

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – All local government units (LGUs) in the northern part of the province are on heightened alert as Typhoon Nona (international name Melor) is expected to make landfall here on Tuesday, December 15.

Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division, said that all cities and towns in the 1st to 3rd districts are placed under “red alert” as signal number 1 is hoisted in northern Negros Occidental.

Caelian said a “contingency plan” and relief goods are in place, while emergency response teams are on standby in their assigned areas.

He advised residents in danger zones, especially in the coastal areas, to prepare for possible evacuation.

Stranded passengers

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has cancelled all the sea trips in the province since Monday afternoon, as the weather and sea condition worsened.

Lieutenant Commander Ramil Palabrica, chief of PCG-Bacolod, said that trips of fast craft vessels in Bacolod City were suspended early Monday morning but resumed operations at 9:45 am. At around 5 pmthe trips were again cancelled. 

Trips of roll-on, roll-off vessels were also cancelled at 8 pm, he said.

Affected sea trips were fast craft bound for Iloilo City from Bacolod City and vessels from various ports in the province. These included trips from San Carlos City to Toledo, Cebu; Escalante City to Tabuelan, Cebu; and Cadiz City to Bantayan Island, Cebu.

Due to the cancellation of trips, hundreds of passengers and cargo trucks were stranded in the province's ports.

At least 502 passengers were stranded at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation (BREDCO) port.

In Escalante City, 5 passengers and 70 cargo trucks were stranded, while 4 passengers and 60 cargo trucks were unable to travel to San Carlos City. –