1,620 passengers stranded in Bicol ports due to 'Amang'

LEGAZPI CITY -- A total of 1,620 passengers are stranded in ports across Bicol Region as of late Monday morning due to Tropical Depression Amang.

This, as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 1 over the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate, including Ticao Island.

Ensign Excelsior Abenoja, public information officer of Philippine Coastguard (PCG)-Bicol, said by phone that as of 11 a.m., the stranded passengers numbered 1,523 at the ports of Matnog, Pilar and Bulan in Sorsogon province and 97 at the ports of Pasacau and Tamban in Camarines Sur province.

He said PCG-Bicol’s sail suspension order also put on hold at the ports seven sea vessels, 199 trucks, 24 buses and 41 light vehicles.

Meanwhile, local government units (LGUs) in affected provinces are now closely monitoring “Amang”.

Sorsogon Governor Bobet Rodrigueza said, also by phone, that they are preparing for possible evacuation of residents in high-risk areas.

"We are on alert status and we are closely monitoring the situation and the direction of Tropical Depression Amang," he said.

According to PAGASA, "Amang" sustained its strength as it moves over the eastern seaboard of Eastern Samar.

Despite the absence of tropical cyclone warning signal here in Albay, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) on Sunday evacuated a total of 2,319 families or 8,319 people in flood and landslide-prone areas.

Classes in all levels in public and private schools were suspended Monday until Tuesday as part of disaster pre-emptive measures.

Albayanos are also advised not to go out fishing, sailing or cross rivers to ensure their safety. (By Connie Calipay, PNA)