LAOAG CITY, Philippines—People were crowding the City Hall here on Sunday morning but not because they were seeking shelter from the supposed stormy weather brought about by typhoon “Pablo,” which changed course and headed toward the tip of northern Luzon after devastating Mindanao and parts of the Visayas.
They came in droves to watch Manny Pacquiao’s fight on pay per view, which was made available at the city auditorium, the conference hall and even at the treasurer’s office for free.
Ramon Formantes, city information officer, said the city disaster response and management councils (CDRRMC) were under instruction to be on alert for heavy rains that Pablo may dump after Ilocos Norte was placed under storm Signal No. 2 on Saturday night.
By 10 a.m. Sunday, the weather bureau downgraded the storm warning to Signal No. 1, as Pablo weakened. Its center was estimated at 80 kilometers west of Laoag and was expected to be at 40 km west of the Ilocos Norte capital on Monday.
Other areas under Signal No. 1 were Apayao and the Babuyan Group of Islands.
“We were anticipating rains this morning. But fortunately, it had been all sunny and partly gloomy all day. Our residents even forgot there was a storm brewing because they were all glued to the Pacman fight,” said Formantes.
“But we are not letting our guards down. Our CDRRMC members are on call,” he said.
National government agencies have turned to text blasting and making use of official Facebook accounts to alert local governments and residents on the brewing storm by posting regular weather updates.