MANILA - Malacañang on Saturday urged the public to closely monitor updates and secure their belongings as Typhoon Rolly, poised to become a super typhoon, barreled towards the Philippine landmass.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it is "closely monitoring" the typhoon’s movement, as the government sought to prepare the public for the storm. The typhoon is expected to affect much of Luzon and parts of the Visayas, with rains forecast to begin Saturday night.
He also urged the public to stay tuned with the latest developments on the typhoon, touted by a disaster official as possibly one of the strongest since Super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged the country in 2013, causing deaths and widespread destruction.
"We ask the public, especially the residents of potential areas that will be affected by the typhoon to stay calm yet vigilant, check the latest government weather advisory, listen to the radio or watch television for more information, secure their house and vehicle, and keep their family members and loved ones dry and safe," Roque said in a statement.
Rolly packs maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 265 kph, according to state weather bureau PAGASA in its 2 p.m. advisory. It was seen 410 kilometers east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes as of 1 p.m.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council earlier warned against underestimating the impact of the typhoon, which is forecast to bring destructive winds and torrential rains.
Roque also said agencies are now on standby, with the NDRRMC placed on “red alert status.”
"[NDRRMC] is in close coordination with all regional disaster risk reduction and management councils and local government units (LGUs) that are in the track of the Typhoon. They have been conducting Pre-Disaster Risk Assessments to ensure that all local government units and communities are prepared for the possible impacts of the typhoon to landslide-, flood-, storm surge- and lahar flow-prone areas," Roque said.
LGUs have also started reminding residents, especially those at risk of storm surges and lahar flow, to evacuate. The Department of Social Welfare and Development, Roque said has some P879 million in standby funds for disaster response.
The NDRRMC earlier said that the typhoon - classified as "violent" by the Japan Meteorological Agency and by far the strongest storm in the world this year - may bring "heavy to very heavy" damage in affected areas, citing the possibility of torrential rains and disastrous winds.
It has also advised LGUs to prepare evacuation centers while enforcing strict distancing protocols inside the facilities as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues.
Some areas which may be affected by the typhoon are still reeling from the effects of Typhoon Quinta, which ravaged parts of Southern Luzon earlier this week.