By MADEL R. SABATER
July 3, 2012, 7:28pm
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang told local government units (LGUs) that the late announcement of class suspension in some areas on Tuesday should be the last time it should happen, reminding LGUs of their responsibility to announce class suspension as early as possible. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also asked the public to be more patient with LGUs because of the new system that transferred to the LGUs the responsibility of ordering the suspension of classes which was previously the function of the Department of Education (DepEd)“We are giving them a little more time to cope with the new system and we hope that this will be the last time,” Valte said. She said it would be up to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to impose sanctions on LGUs that failed to announce class suspension on time during inclement weather. According to Valte, local governments should make the announcement as early as 4:30 a.m. “We will be asking for a little bit of your patience because it is a new system and our LGUs would also need to get used to that system, but again we would like to remind them as well as a reminder from the DILG that the responsibility of suspending classes in your locality is now with your local chief executives,” she said. Valte said the responsibility of announcing class suspension was given to the local governments because the DepEd, which used to announce the suspension of classes, also gets information from LGUs whether or not to have class suspension in their respective areas. Valte said they had noticed the numerous complaints aired by the public in various media outfits on the late class suspension yesterday. She said DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo has vowed to remind LGUs of the new protocol.Valte said President Aquino is continuing to monitor the weather and flood situation, particularly in Metro Manila and nearby areas. Classes were suspended in most parts of the metropolis yesterday due to heavy rains which caused flooding in major thoroughfares. Valte, however, said there was no suspension of work in government offices. Based on the DepEd Order, Signal No. 1 will permit the suspension of classes in public and private pre-school and kindergarten classes in the affected areas while Signal No. 2 allows for the suspension of elementary and secondary classes. At Signal No. 3, classes in all levels are cancelled. LGU officials are supposed to announce cancellation of classes not later than 4:30 a.m. for whole-day cancellation and 11 a.m. for afternoon class suspension. Meanwhile, two dams in Luzon reached their critical water level due to continuous intense rains over the watershed areas yesterday, the state weather bureau said.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Max Peralta said one spillway gate of Ipo Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan had been releasing excess water since yesterday morning. As of 11 a.m. yesterday, Ipo Dam’s level reached 100.75 meters, or 0.11 meters lower than its spilling level of 100.86 meters. “Before 10 a.m., two gates were opened. Only one gate remains opened due to less rains over the area,” Peralta said “Water released from the Ipo dam is at 48 cubic meters per second. This is quite minimal and may not flood the downstream communities near the Angat River,” he explained. Likewise, water level in La Mesa Dam in Quezon City remained critical at 79.52 meters, as of 11 a.m. yesterday. This was 0.63 meters short of the 80.15-meter spilling level Dam authorities have already issued a red alert for possible flash floods among communities near the Tullahan River. Communities that may likely be affected by flooding are Fairview, Forest Hills, Quirino Highway, Papri, Goodwill, Sta. Quiteria, and San Bartolome in Quezon City, Barangay Ligon along North Luzon Expressway in Valenzuela and Malabon.“We have recorded...