GENERAL SANTOS CITY-- Classes were suspended on Thursday morning in four municipalities in South Cotabato province due to continuing heavy rains.
Milagros Lorca, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said the municipal governments of Lake Sebu, T'boli and Sto. Nino declared class suspensions in all levels and four barangays in Surallah town in elementary and high school levels.
She said the other local government units are currently evaluating the situation in their barangays for possible similar declarations.
"For the rest of our AOR (area of responsibility), the rains are just moderate so far, but we're closely monitoring the situation," she said.
In Surallah town, Mayor Antonio Bendita said class suspensions were declared in elementary and high schools in Barangays Moloy, Buenavista, Tubi-allah and Lamian.
He said these barangays are located in upland areas that are considered prone to landslides.
Citing their monitoring, Lorca said light to moderate rains were initially monitored in almost the entire province on Wednesday night.
But she said it turned moderate to heavy in some areas, specifically in parts of T'boli and Lake Sebu towns, early Thursday.
The official said she directed the DRRM offices of the province's 10 towns and lone city to conduct regular assessments on the situation in their barangays and immediately file reports to their office.
As of 8 a.m., Lorca said they have not received reports of flashfloods, landslides and other related occurrences in the affected areas.
She said they are continuously monitoring the water levels of rivers and tributaries within the province, especially those traversing populated areas.
"We're presently under blue alert so those situated in the low-lying and landslide-prone areas should take extra precaution," she said.
An advisory released by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the rains are due to the tail-end of a cold front affecting the eastern section of the Visayas and Mindanao.
It said "cloudy skies with light to moderate rains and isolated thunderstorms is expected over the Visayas, the rest of Mindanao and the province of Palawan."
In its 6:30 a.m. advisory, Pagasa raised the orange warning in the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur due to the prevailing weather condition.
Source: Philippines News Agency