By: Manila Standard – September 13, 2018

As typhoon “Ompong” intensified with winds of over 200 kph on a path directly toward the country’s northeastern seaboard, Secretary Raul L. Lambino activated Wednesday a 50-man quick-response team in Sta. Ana, the heartland of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

“Our order is for the quick-response team to identify the hazard areas and inhabited areas that are prone to landslide and flooding,” said Lambino, administrator and CEO of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority based in Sta. Ana.

Lambino said he has put on standby Ceza’s earth-moving equipment such as backhoes and bulldozers and other vehicles like ambulances and dump trucks for possible evacuation and rescue operations.

He said he gave orders to the Ceza team to coordinate closely with local authorities “because disaster preparedness is a total team effort.”

“As we anticipate mass evacuation because of the typhoon’s intensity, we have prepared relief goods that will be released to evacuees in coordination with the LGUs and local disaster management authorities,” Lambino added.

Among the relief items that Ceza’s team has prepared are 1,000 packs of food items and water.

The latest weather forecast showed the Freeport right along the path of the massive storm, which was expected to make landfall at the northern tip of Luzon.