‘Basyang’ weakens, strands 9,000 passengers

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

MANILA (Updated 2:37 p.m.) -- After making a total of eight landfalls in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, Tropical Storm "Basyang" (Kajiki) weakened into a tropical depression on Saturday, the state weather bureau said.

As of 10 a.m., the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Basyang was located 339 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, packing maximum winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center. Basyang was moving westward at 30 kph.

Pagasa weather forecaster Fernando Cada said Basyang made eight landfalls after it hit Ubay, Bohol at 10 p.m. Friday.

He said that Basyang hit Naga City in Cebu at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, San Carlos, Negros Occidental at 1:30 a.m., and Guimaras province at 3:30 a.m.

Public storm warning signals in Mindanao were lowered. However, public storm warning signal number 1 (30-60 kph winds) remains over Romblon, Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, southern part of Oriental Mindoro, southern part of Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Guimaras, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, and Iloilo. Residents in these areas were warned against possible flash floods and landslides.

As of 6 a.m. Saturday, Commander Armando Balilo, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Public Affairs chief, said that at total of 9,023 passengers were stranded in various port terminals across the country after sea travels were suspended in provinces under signals 1 and 2.

Balilo said the stranded passengers were reported in Manila (3,075), Cebu (640), Dumaguete (385), Ormoc (30), Maasin (441), Catbalogan (1,764), Sorsogon (1,664), Masbate (82), Iloilo (758), Bacolod (119), Surigao (50), and Ozamis (15).

Meanwhile, Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista, Palawan Coast Guard district chief, suspended all tourism-related activities in sea including the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) boat tour and island-hopping activities in the province, particularly in Coron and El Nido, due to the bad weather.

Budget Carrier Cebu Pacific Air on Saturday also canceled 32 of its domestic flights due to stormy weather brought by Basyang.

The affected flights include: 5J381/382 (Manila-Cagayan de Oro-Manila), 5J2869/2870 (Manila-Tacloban-Manila), 5J209/210 (Cebu-Cagayan de Oro-Cebu), 5J215/216 (Cagayan-Davao-Cagayan), 5J2916/2917 (Cebu-Tacloban-Cebu), 5J867/868 (Cebu-Dumaguete-Cebu), 5J873/874 (Cebu-Surigao-Cebu), 5J625/626 (Manila-Dumaguete-Manila), 5J869/870 (Cebu-Ozamiz-Cebu), 5J219/220 (Cebu-Butuan-Cebu), 5J617/618 (Manila-Tagbilaran-Manila), 5J397/398 (Manila-Cagayan de Oro-Manila), 5J785/786 (Manila-Butuan-Manila), 5J383/384 (Manila-Cagayan de Oro-Manila), 5J205/206 (Cebu-Cagayan de Oro-Cebu), and 5J781/782 (Manila-Ozamiz-Manila).

"We hope for your understanding as this situation is beyond the airline's control," the airline said in its latest flight bulletin.

The airline management said passengers booked in affected flights may avail themselves of rebooking/re-routing of flights within 30 days; conversion of full value of fares in a travel fund; or full refund. (Sunnex/With PNA)

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